Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bellingham Port Provides $70K for Economic Development

The Washington-state Port of Bellingham has awarded $70,000 of in-kind matching funds to support a total of five economic development projects in the small Whatcom County cities of Blaine, Everson, Lynden and Nooksack.

The money comes from a special port-sponsored Small City Economic Development Fund. Port commissioners have also worked a Small Cities Partnership group so that the leaders in those communities could determine their top priorities.

The Commission committed $80,000 in funding for Small City projects for 2011. This funding comes from Industrial Revenue Bond earnings and will be matched by $79,000 in contributions from the small cities.

The City of Blaine received $20,000 for construction management, surveying and materials testing during city construction of a 450-foot commercial cul-de-sac to access former airport property. A part of the former airport property was recently sold to Mercer Distribution and Transport to build a border inspection facility.

The City of Lynden received $30,000 for two projects. The first is $20,000 to help fund a feasibility analysis and business plan for an anaerobic digester, which could collect effluent from dairies and other feedstocks and produce methane gas that would generate electricity, natural gas quality methane gas and low-grade heat. The second is a development and feasibility study to explore whether the city should create a Public Development Authority in its downtown area.

The port is contributing $10,000 to the City of Everson to help fund a required update of the city's water system master plan. The plan is necessary to support water services to a light industrial area and the retail area of downtown.

The port is providing an additional $10,000 to the City of Nooksack to also update the city's water system master plan in order to meet regulatory needs for future growth.