Whidbey organizations are big winners in state budget

Boys & Girls Clubs in Oak Harbor and Coupeville are among the winners in the state’s recently approved capital budget.

Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, said she and Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, teamed up and decided to divide the work on capital budget requests.

The results proved significant for Whidbey Island.

The two largest allocations for the island are $1 million grants for two very different investments. One is a crisis stabilization and detox center in Oak Harbor and the other is for Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Kristen Griffin, Reserve manager, said it was a surprise when Gov. Jay Inslee put the funding in his proposed budget. The $1 million will go into the budget of the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the state historic preservation officer will collaborate with the Trust Board of Ebey’s Reserve to use the funding for historic preservation projects in the Reserve.

Many restoration projects are in need of funding, Griffin said, including the Coupeville Wharf and the Haller House.

“There are more than 400 historic properties that contribute to the Central Whidbey Island Historic District and the Reserve,” she wrote in an email. “While this is a blessing, it is also a remarkable concentration of significant historic properties.

Meeting the needs of these structures is an especially big challenge for a small rural community. This grant funding will go a long way help good work continue.”

The behavioral health facility in Oak Harbor received $4 million in state funds last year; Smith said the $1 million should help complete the project.

The capital budget also includes $743,000 for a new facility for the Oak Harbor Boys & Girls Club. The club is currently located in the Roller Barn, but the building is inadequate and was put on the market. The funding will allow the club to purchase a former funeral home building to transform into a club house, according to Smith.

The state is providing the Coupeville Boys & Girls Club with $849,000 to build a new facility.

Terri Driscoll, the unit director, explained that the club is currently located in the old fire house, but it’s too small. The club has been raising funds for a new building for years and a piece of property near the high school was donated for the site of the new building.

The state funds mean that the organization has enough money to move forward with construction.

The capital budget earmarks $400,000 for the Oak Harbor Marina and $350,000 for the purchase of property for a regional park on the north end of Oak Harbor.

In addition, the budget provides $71,000 to the Coupeville Maritime Heritage Foundation for the restoration of the Suva, a 1925 schooner.

Finally, the budget has $68,000 for a feasibility study for the restoration of shoreline at the Oak Harbor Marina.

Smith also pointed out that the transportation budget included $860,000 for a trail from the Clinton ferry terminal to Ken’s Corner.

Two of the three Island County commissioners previously rejected the grant.

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