Port to receive $1.5 million for Steigerwald Commerce Center

Grant will go toward extension of street

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Port of Camas-Washougal Executive Director Dave Ripp said he was elated when he found out the state budget recently approved by the legislature includes $1.5 million for the Steigerwald Commerce Center.

The state funding will go toward phase one of the project, formerly known as the East Industrial Park. Phase one is expected to include the extension of approximately 1,500 feet of street from Truman, east into the commerce center.

“This Jobs Bond Package will allow the port to reach our goal to advance as quickly as possible through the permitting process and to potentially be ‘moving dirt’ on phase one of the site as soon as late summer 2012,” Ripp said. “This $1.5 million is just part of an overall $14 million investment the port is working on for the development of the entire site.

“The port cannot afford to construct all the infrastructure for the entire 120 acres, so we break it up into phases,” he added.

Infrastructure includes streets, curbs, gutters, water, sewer, electricity and stormwater.

Ripp put together a funding proposal for the commerce center project after the Washington Public Ports Association forwarded a request from the state wanting to know the number and type of economic development infrastructure projects that were in the planning process and how close they were to the construction phase.

When he was notified that the state was working on a budget to fund some port projects and the Port of Camas-Washougal was one of them, Ripp contacted Sen. Joe Zarelli and Reps. Ed Orcutt and Ann Rivers for their support as well as support from other legislators in Clark County outside the 18th District.

That involved some phone conversations, along with a lot of emails.

“A lot of time went in to tracking both the senate’s and house’s budget and making sure one of them didn’t drop the project,” Ripp said. “Fortunately, there was overwhelming support from both sides and the budget passed.”