By Aaron Corvin, April 2, 2014, The Columbian
The Port of Camas-Washougal will apply for an estimated $1.15 million in state grant funding to help pay for a new waterfront park and trail as part of its larger ongoing effort to transform a key 40-acre parcel into a place to live, work and play.
The port’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to authorize the port’s executive director, David Ripp, to file two grant applications with the Washington state Recreation and Conservation Office, or RCO.
One application will attempt to tap the RCO’s Aquatic Lands Enhancement program. The other will seek funding from the state agency’s Wildlife and Recreation program. Both applications could net the port a total of about $1.15 million. The port would match that pot of money with roughly $1.15 million it has set aside in its capital budget to cover the total estimated $2.3 million cost of the waterfront park and trail.
If all goes as planned, construction of the park and trail could be underway by summer 2015. Ripp said the application process is competitive but that he feels confident in the port’s chances of obtaining the state funding. The port has discussed its plans with the state Recreation and Conservation Office, Ripp said. “They like what they’ve seen, and we’ve been in open communication with them,” he added. “I feel pretty good.”
The proposed 0.83-mile waterfront trail would run in the vicinity of the marina, port office, former Hambleton Lumber Co. site, and the South Sixth Street and South A Street properties. The trail would tie into the proposed 3.44-acre park, which would be built southwest of the former Hambleton parcel.
Both projects are among other planned public amenities that would complement a longer-term initiative: redeveloping a key waterfront site to potentially include a mix of commercial and residential spaces, or to include attractions such as a lodge or water park or specialty outdoor store.
The port owns 13 acres of the 26-acre former lumber mill site, as well as 14 acres immediately east of the site, putting a total of about 27 acres under port ownership. Killian Pacific, the Vancouver-based commercial real estate developer, owns the other 13-acre half of the former mill parcel. Together, the port and Killian Pacific hope to transform the entire 40-acre waterfront site — which is about 1.7 miles away from Washougal’s downtown — into a focal point. Market feasibility studies are underway to pinpoint development alternatives.
The port also has teamed up with the city of Washougal and Portland State University to generate a community vision for the waterfront parcel that not only augments the city’s downtown but also creates a local and regional identity for Washougal. The planning effort is led by a team of students from PSU’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program.
The port and city are providing the PSU team with a budget of up to $5,000 (the port is kicking in $3,500, the city $1,500) for materials, supplies, meeting space, travel and other costs associated with the project, dubbed “Washougal Waterfront: A Community Connected.”
The project will unfold over several months, involving community events, surveys, opportunities for public input and progress reports. It’s expected to culminate in early June with a final community vision plan that will guide development of the waterfront site and, according to the project’s work plan, “lead to a more connected, accessible and vibrant Washougal.”