A currently undeveloped area next to the Field Arts & Events Hall will make up the rest of the Port Angeles Waterfront Center — the future home of the Marine Discovery Center and the Lower Elwha Klallam Cultural Center. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

A currently undeveloped area next to the Field Arts & Events Hall will make up the rest of the Port Angeles Waterfront Center — the future home of the Marine Discovery Center and the Lower Elwha Klallam Cultural Center. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Millions allocated to Peninsula

Housing, infrastructure projects awarded funds

PORT ANGELES — Several million dollars of federal funding is coming to the North Olympic Peninsula, part of the federal appropriations bill passed by Congress last week.

In a press release, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer’s office announced a total of $3.4 million in Community Project Funding grants for four infrastructure projects in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Grant awards include $1 million for the Port of Port Angeles’s Waterfront Center project; $800,000 for the Makah Indian Tribe’s worker housing project; $800,000 for the Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County’s Brownfield Road Project in Sequim and $800,000 for the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven breakwater.

Kilmer, a Democrat who lives in Gig Harbor, sits on the House Appropriations Committee and has represented Washington’s 6th Congressional District since 2013. He announced last year he is not seeking re-election.

Community Project Funding — formerly known as earmarks — are projects funded specifically by request of members of Congress. Kilmer’s office said in August it submitted requests for 15 projects in the district, five of which were on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Kilmer had initially requested $4 million for the Waterfront Center; $3.75 million for the Makah housing project; $2 million for the Brownfield Road project and $6.16 million for the Port Townsend breakwater.

A request for $2 million for Jefferson Healthcare and the Jefferson County Public Hospital District for the construction of a new clinic was listed among the projects not funded.

The Port of Port Townsend had requested more than $6 million in hopes of replacing the aging breakwater, said Port Director Eron Berg, but with the lesser amount, port officials will now have to decide whether to repair the breakwater or pursue a phased approach for replacing the structure.

“We’re pragmatic folks; we need to build a project that fits our capacity,” Berg said. “We’re going to want to work with the (granting agency) to do more analysis and design work.”

Many of the projects already have begun construction and the additional funding will help complete them. The $1 million allocated to the Waterfront Center is aimed at completing the construction of the facility.

“Field Hall is poised to transform the Port Angeles waterfront, not only as a premier venue for public gatherings and events but also as a catalyst for economic growth and community development,” Kilmer said in a press release.

“With these federal funds, our community is on the brink of completing a project that will create jobs, generate significant economic activity, and provide invaluable educational opportunities in partnership with Peninsula College,” he added.

In a statement, Port Angeles Mayor Kate Dexter said the city was grateful to Kilmer’s office for securing the grants.

“The entire campus and Field Hall Building is already enhancing the quality of life for businesses, residents, and visitors,” Dexter said.

The Makah Tribe will use the $800,000 to construct six duplex units for workers on tribe-owned land.

“Our housing shortage directly impacts the Tribe’s ability to hire and retain other essential professional staff such as Neah Bay Public Safety teachers for Cape Flattery School District and medical professionals at the Sophie Trettevick Indian Health Center,” said Timothy Greene, chairman of the Makah Tribe.

The project is shovel-ready and will support at least 12 essential worker positions on the reservation.

Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County’s Brownfield Road project broke ground last summer and will construct 42 affordable homes in the Sequim area. The $800,000 appropriated by the grants will go toward infrastructure development such as roads, sidewalks, lighting and utility connections.

“The overwhelming community support behind this project is a testament to the community’s shared values and commitment to making sure that all residents have access to safe and affordable housing,” said Sequim Mayor Brandon Janisse. “This project not only fulfills a pressing societal need but also fuels economic growth and fosters community resilience.”

The community project funding grants were included in the $460 billion spending package recently approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Kilmer’s office also announced the Quinault Indian Nation will receive $3.65 million for the installation of solar power generation and electricity infrastructure upgrades and retrofits to deliver energy to the nearly 500 new and existing homes in the tribe’s main village of Taholah on the Quinault Indian Reservation.

That money is being allocated through the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Electrification Program approved as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

“Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration and Congressman Kilmer we can start implementing our vision to power our reservation with clean energy as part of the fight against climate change, while also building energy independence and making electricity service to our community more reliable,” said Quinault Indian Nation President Guy Capoeman.

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsulanews.us.

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