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Four small cities in Whatcom County will get some extra help with their economic development projects this year. The Port of Bellingham’s Board of Commissioners has approved spending $80,000 in matching funds for projects in Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, and Lynden.
“This annual cost-sharing program is designed to help small cities in Whatcom County implement job-creating economic development projects,” said Port Economic Development Specialist Dodd Snodgrass.
Since the fund was created in 2004, the port has provided over $570,000 to small cities to advance projects ranging from street and utility extensions, retail market analysis, and downtown enhancements.
Small cities have provided over $860,000 in matching funds and have secured or identified over $19 million in capital project funds to support the completion of community economic development projects.
Here are the projects funded for 2015:
CITY OF BLAINE: $20,000 in Port matching funds with a $45,000 City cash match for the City to complete a study to determine the local consumer profile, retail leakage and spending habits for the Blaine market area and how it related to underserved retail market needs. The study will also assess the Canadian market to help identify new retail business opportunities to attract to Blaine.
CITY OF EVERSON: $20,000 in Port matching funds with a $20,000 City cash match to support the expansion of Lincoln Street from Washington Avenue to West Main Street. This project benefits local employers, Nylatech and Criterion Athletic, and will connect to developable property via Lincoln Street Phase 2.
CITY OF FERNDALE: $20,000 in Port matching funds with an $80,000 City cash match for engineering services to support the construction of an extension of Thornton Road to connect to I-5. The final $20+ million project will relieve traffic congestion on Main Street and provide direct access to 50 acres of commercial/industrial property as well as more direct I-5 access for Samson Rope.
CITY OF LYNDEN: $20,000 in Port matching funds with a $20,000 City cash match to complete 30% plans and permits for a City-acceptable sanitary sewer system for property south of Kok Road and Bay Lyn Drive along the Guide and remove a critical gap in serviced land within the city. The project will increase predictability for developers to access 20 acres of commercial property and also facilitate additional residential hookups.
The Port of Bellingham is a countywide independent government charged with pursuing economic development, operating transportation terminals, and being a steward of public lands and resources. The Port operates the Bellingham International Airport, the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, the Fairhaven Transportation Station and marinas in Bellingham and Blaine. Its Real Estate Division manages 315 acres of property, with 180 tenants and 1 million square feet of leasable space.
Port operations are responsible for over 4,000 jobs in Whatcom County.
For more information on the Small City Economic Development Fund, contact Port Economic Development Specialist Dodd Snodgrass at 360.676.2500