County adds to SEED money for business center

Plans for an innovative business center spearheaded by the Port of Bremerton received a $10,000 boost from Kitsap County as an initial investment in the project was approved by the county commissioners on Monday.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said the county has agreed to pay the port potentially a total of $25,000 to help launch the project, known as Sustainable Economic and Energy Development (SEED). But only the first $10,000 was approved initially.

According to the Kitsap SEED Interlocal agreement approved Tuesday by the Port’s board of commissioners, “(Kitsap) County will contribute an additional $15,000 on or after Feb. 15, 2005, once it has been demonstrated the SEED project has furthered its economic development goals.”

“Obviously, we want to be able to help with any economic development, but it needs to have a plan on how it’s progressing,” Angel said.

SEED is the brainchild of Sustainable Synergy, a local consulting group formed by Mark Frost and former Kitsap County Commissioner Tim Botkin.

After pitching the idea to the port, the pair was hired to create a development concept for a business campus that embraces sustainable energy and building technology on a 40-plus acre section of its Olympic View Industrial Park.

Port CEO Ken Attebery said the project is designed to “further the economic development activities of the port, Kitsap County and the region,” and matches the port’s overall vision for the industrial park.

Angel said she was “interested” in the idea for the project when she first heard about it a year ago.

“It sounded very innovative, and I wasn’t sure how they would put the pieces together, but I felt it was worth investigating,” she said. “Sometimes, ideas seem kind of far out at first, but I think we need to look at all the facets.”

The county’s investment in SEED triggered a matching $10,000 contribution from the port, which agreed to match, up to $25,000, any grants the group secures from other sources.

In addition to the matching funds, Attebery said the port has agreed to pay Sustainable Synergy $25,000 for a combination land-use planning and marketing effort, which includes not only creating a concept plan, but recruiting businesses and finding funding for the campus.

As required in the contract, Botkin and Frost on Tuesday presented a draft site plan to the port that outlined the general location of all potential buildings, parking lots, storm-water facilities and open spaces, and other specifications.

A final plan is due in another four months.

Sustainable Synergy first proposed the plan to the port in a presentation last June, where it detailed projections about energy production in the United States, predicting that technologies supporting alternative, or non-petroleum based, and renewable energy sources will be emphasized in the future.

The group then proposed a strategy for creating a “sustainable campus” on port property that would attract businesses focuses on alternative energies.

The other deliverables include: a survey and summary of other similar, successful developments in other communities; a list of not less than 300 businesses that were contacted and solicited to join the development; and demonstration of the consultants’ effort to obtain grants or other financial support from businesses, organizations or governmental agencies.

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