SEED project gets EDA grant money

The Port of Bremerton’s SEED project is in line to receive more public money. - Courtesy Photo
The Port of Bremerton’s SEED project is in line to receive more public money.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The Port of Bremerton was notified on Friday that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) had approved the port’s application for a grant award of $2.58 million to construct a new clean technology business development building at the Port’s Olympic View Business and Industrial Park on State Route 3 in South Kitsap.

But there’s a small catch. The grant requires a one-to-one match from the port.

“We’re working to find sources to fund our share of the match,” said Port CEO Ken Atteberry. “We’ll develop those as we go along. If that sounds a little indefinite, it is.”

The building will be designed to house the port’s Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project — a small business incubator program to serve the clean technology business sector and assist with commercialization of green products and services.

SEED, however, is currently on hiatus, as the port commissioners await the results of a third-party review of whether the concept is economically viable.

“We’ve had a lot of questions from the business sector about how the SEED (Sustainable Energy and Economic Development) project has slowed,” said Port CEO Ken Attebery. “I would think this would be reassuring to them.”

He said the grant would likely have no effect one way or the other on the outcome of the review.

“(The consultants) weren’t tasked with evaluating that,” Atteberry said. “They were tasked with evaluating the economic potential of the clean technology sector and whether we’re positioned to benefit from it.”

The grant award is coming from EDA’s FY 2008 allocation of economic adjustment assistance funds from the Public Works and Economic Development Act, and includes funding from the federal Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund signed into law last December.

The inclusion of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) features in the planned building was important in the award.

Port Commissioner Bill Mahan said, “We’ve been working for the past three years for this grant offer. The Kitsap SEED project is the No. 1 project in the region as determined by the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Economic Development Board.”

Mahan continued, “The U.S. Economic Development Administration has selected the Port of Bremerton to receive $2.58 million dollars of job creation money to help Kitsap County in this time of economic distress. This is a great day for the port and for Kitsap County.”

The Port of Bremerton and the Kitsap SEED (Sustainable Energy and Economic Development) project were awarded a Vision 2020 award in the 2007 round of Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) recognition of notable projects in the four-county region.

In 2006 the project had ranked No. 1 in the regional competition for federal Economic Development Administration funds through the same four counties’ Economic Development District Board.

It was the only project in the 2006 competition that tied directly to the PSRC’s Prosperity Partnership’s regional industrial cluster strategy for creating 100,000 new jobs in the region.

This regional strategy listed Kitsap SEED as one of its actions in this cluster initiative.

The Kitsap SEED project also ties directly into one of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance’s community wide economic development strategies contained in “Kitsap 20/20” KEDA’s countywide vision and action plan for sustainable economic prosperity.

The project received unanimous support from U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Reps. Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee along the way toward this federal funding.

The Washington State Legislature also provided funds over two years to assist with the planning and infrastructure for the project.

The port commissioners were scheduled to consider the acceptance of the grant offer at Tuesday’s board meeting.

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