Exciting potential for development at the Bishop Recreation Area and at a large industrial property in George is advancing as the Port of Quincy pushes water projects forward.
The three port commissioners discussed both sites at the board’s Oct. 12 meeting. Catalina Blancas, the port’s Bishop Recreation Area project manager, attended the meeting, as did Brant Mayo from Grant County Economic Development Council.
First, Commissioner Curt Morris asked the other two board members, Patric Connelly and Brian Kuest, whether they supported pursuing a state capital budget request for the port’s Quincy Business & Event Center. After discussing what to go for in the upcoming state legislative session, the commissioners agreed to make the event center the focus of a capital request.
Concerning the port’s Bishop Recreation Area property, Morris laid out steps and potential costs for a new way to get more water at the site, which is near the lower Ancient Lakes trail head.
Port commissioners have had a tough nut to crack in getting enough water to the Bishop site to support some kind of development for recreation.
The state Department of Ecology can give the port a temporary permit, Morris said, that will allow the port to drill a test well. If that succeeds, then Ecology would likely issue a permanent permit.
Water will open opportunities, including grant programs.
“Got to get the water first,” Morris said by phone Monday.
To start that process, it will take a $5,000 payment to Ecology and $8,000 to Landau Associates, which commissioners agreed to during their previous meeting.
Then the port would have costs for drilling and getting power to the site.
“More than likely, we will be into this thing $50,000,” Morris said at the Oct. 12 meeting, giving his fellow commissioners an idea of how much money this path to a new water source might cost.
The costs, or some of them, might be covered by a State Recreation and Conservation Office grant, he said. Blancas agreed and said she planned to attend an RCO webinar.
Following their discussion, port commissioners voted to execute the agreement with Landau for $8,000 of work for the Bishop property water, indicating they think the chance of success is worth the potential costs.
Turning to other projects, Morris said the port will again submit a request for Grant County Strategic Infrastructure funds for the the port’s intermodal facility.
The request, for about $300,000 for gravel to extend the yard and make room for more shipping containers, had been approved previously but not funded by the county, he said.
The snag was on the project being in the county’s comprehensive plan. Morris said it is now in the plan and hopes the funding will come through.
The port has a second application for SIP funds, approximately $300,000, to go toward building a municipal water line in George to the port’s 137-acre property there.
The property is bare farm land, and bringing potable water to the site will greatly increase the land’s development potential.
The port has received inquiries about the property from commercial interests.
Morris said the water line project has been put out for bids, and they are expected soon. On the economic development prospects front, Morris said the port continues to get new leads but is “just kind of stymied until the PUD tells us where we are at on power.”
In other port business, Connie Kuest talked about getting the event center’s parking lot sealed and stripes painted showing parking spaces. It was too late this year to get the lot sealed, she said, because of the weather.
- The commissioners voted in favor of paying for the Columbia Basin Development League’s 2023 membership fee, $325, and discussed the upcoming expiration of the lease of space in the event center to the lease for the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce at the end of the year. They talked about market rents, lease terms and the rising costs of maintenance on the building. They leaned toward raising the rent a bit but made no decision.