The Chronicle: “Port of Centralia Moves Forward With Centralia Station”

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Port of Centralia Moves Forward With Centralia Station
Amy Nile, The Chronicle
July 3, 2013

The Port of Centralia is moving forward on its Centralia Station project, a 43-acre multi-use development on the south end of Long Road, just off the Mellen Street interchange.

The port received $750,000 for stormwater construction and enhancements at the Centralia Station site in the Washington State Legislature’s capital budget.

The Port’s Executive Director Kyle Heaton estimates the total cost of the project could be $6 million to $8 million for infrastructure including roads and utilities. The newly appropriated funding will pay for the first phase of the project, he said.

“We were pleased in a difficult budget cycle that Senator (John) Braun was able to secure funding for us with support from the House delegation,” Heaton told The Chronicle. “It was appreciated and helps move the project along.”

The Legislature appropriated $18.7 million for 15 stormwater improvement projects statewide, which the state Department of Ecology will oversee.

Sandy Howard, a spokeswoman for DOE, said the state will be contacting the Port of Centralia in the coming months to negotiate the financial arrangements.

“Then we monitor the projects to make sure the money is being spent wisely,” she said.

The development aims to bring jobs, generate tax revenue and expand business in the Hub City.

The project could create hundreds of jobs during construction and, upon completion, Centralia Station businesses could potentially employ more than 350 people permanently, according to the port and the Lewis Economic Development Council.

The development is being designed to combine major retailers, community college facilities, medical offices, tech warehouses and sports fields, and attract other businesses to the area.

“When fully built-out, Centralia Station will create hundreds of local jobs, generate much needed tax revenue for important services and create a whole new retail experience for our community,” Heaton said in a press release about the funding.

The project will take advantage of the new infrastructure being built as part of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s upgrades to Interstate 5.

Transportation Solutions Inc. is working on a traffic study for Centralia Station with DOT. West Consultants Inc. has a hydraulic study underway on the project.

So far, the port has spent $230,000 on flood and traffic studies, Heaton said.

Once the studies are complete, he said, the port will schedule public meetings, possibly as early as late summer.

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