Big news for our project!
The Washington State legislature, as part of a “jobs bill,” has awarded $750,000 to the Port of Columbia for construction of the first building at Blue Mountain Station!
Many smaller processors that can’t afford to build their own facilities have expressed interest in our site. It was determined that grant funding would be needed to keep rents low enough for these entrepreneurial businesses, but no source of grant funds for this type of construction was found during an extensive search. So, a proposal was made to the legislature for funding to construct a multi-use building that will create jobs in the community.
This type of building was proposed for a later phase of the project as a “roundhouse” style building, so we may continue with that idea but locate the building in the first phase of the project. The Port of Columbia will contribute $200,000 to the cost of the building, and it is estimated businesses will invest $50,000 in equipment and fixtures for a total project cost of $1,000,000.
The building will house a commercial kitchen, a small flour mill, a shared retail area, and several small processing spaces. Please have a look at Dennis’ article for more elaboration on the building concept.
Kudos to the Washington Public Ports Association and our local legislators, Representatives Terry Nealey and Maureen Walsh and Senator Mike Hewitt, for championing this and other Port job-creation projects and getting much needed funding into our communities. And special thanks to the citizens of Columbia County who contacted our legislators to let them know how important this project is to our community.
We look forward to working directly with the businesses interested in locating in this new building as we work on design. Please contact me if you or someone you know would like to learn more about leasing space at Blue Mountain Station.