$1.7 million project at Port of Ilwaco to be built in two stages starting in 2006

ILWACO - Grays Harbor College representatives came before the Ilwaco City Council Monday to request approval of a resolution authorizing submission of a grant application for $400,000 to the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development for construction of a new education center at the Port of Ilwaco.

During the public hearing, GHC President Ed Brewster told the council the $1.7 million project will include a 6,000 square foot building to be constructed at the east end of the Port of Ilwaco parking lot. He said a second story will be built that will remain unfinished for five years.

"We'll finish it as we need space," he said.

Lynne Glore, GHC's coordinator of college development, said "a really good start" has been made on funding the project. "We're pleased with how it's gone so far," she said. Local foundations, individuals and businesses have contributed $225,000 so far, and Glore said proposals have been submitted for another $75,000.

A fund-raiser, "A Touch of Class," is scheduled for Nov. 6, sponsored by Friends of GHC on the Columbia. Glore said tickets are "going fast" for the event.

The CTED application is to be submitted by Nov. 18. A draft of the application is available at Ilwaco City Hall.

During the hearing, Pacific County Commissioner Jon Kaino said he "encourages the council to support the application. It's very worthy," he said. "This is an opportunity for our kids to have access to higher education without having to leave the area. They'll have access to a full associate degree and, in the future, a bachelor's degree will be available. The impact on the community is enormous."

"If the city can administer a grant to plant trees, we can certainly administer one that gives an education to our children," Councilman Mike Cassinelli said before making the motion that the council approve the resolution. It received unanimous approval by the council.

Next on the council's agenda, Ocean Park businessman Tom Downer gave a presentation of his proposal to re-name the Long Beach Peninsula as Cape Columbia. He said he has gone to the state's Board of Geographic Names with the proposal. He emphasized that the proposal isn't a re-naming of the area. "It's naming a currently un-named place."

"The Peninsula is un-named now," Downer said, and its official name is North Beach Peninsula. "This idea was first proposed by (former Long Beach City Administrator) Nabiel Shawa. We have an identity problem here. Ilwaco isn't identified with the rest of the Peninsula. We want to market the area to people who are unfamiliar with the area. Cape Columbia tells them what and where we are and groups the comunity together for mutual advantage."

Downer said he wants the Pacific County Commissioners to weigh in on the re-naming before the next meeting of the Board of Geographic Names in March. "I've had lots of words of encouragement," he said.

Councilwoman Shirley Burt said she is in favor of the name change.

Fred Marshall, chairman of the city's planning commission, said he "was ambivalent about the change" until he met with the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau.

"It's exciting to think what we could do with this name," he said. "I encourage the council to endorse this. It's an opportunity to market Ilwaco."

Long Beach businessman Tom Parsons also said he encourages the change. "I'd like to see everyone work together," he said.

"Tom is on the right path by gathering support," Kaino said. "If the community wants this, the commissioners would approve."

Ilwaco Mayor Ed Leonard set a public hearing on the proposal for the first city council meeting in January.

• The council next approved the roads in Kaino's Lakeview Estates development and tabled approval of the development's water system for more study.

• Councilwoman Victoria Stoppiello asked the council to investigate the process it uses to hire a city planner. She said the city's current planner, Skip Urling of Ecological Land Services in Ilwaco, must travel to Ilwaco from Longview. About 16 percent of his fee is for mileage, she said. She asked the council to discuss how a planner is selected and how the city could save money by hiring a local person.

• The council voted to continue to implement its current policy on water and sewer billing for all commercial businesses. Three council members voted "yes" with two members abstaining. "The council finally made a decision on this," Cassinelli said. "This issue has been out there since May."

The billing process for businesses has been an ongoing subject of debate at council meetings and, according to City Clerk Debbie Gore, the city's policy on billing is backed by state law.

• Leonard's report to the council included the following:

The city has been awarded planning and design funds by the Public Works Trust Fund to proceed with design work by Gray and Osborne for wastewater lines on Spruce St. Leonard said the design work must be done before the scheduled paving of the street by the state next year. "At the same time, it will resolve the last major inflow and infiltration problem in our system," Leonard said.

A budget workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the council chambers. The meeting is open to the public.

"I remind you," Leonard said, "that public participation is limited. Be sure to contact your individual members of the council before the meeting with your input. If you wish to communicate with the council by e-mail, send your comments to (ilwacoch@willapabay.org). We will be having more workshops before we are ready to finalize the budget. Please make your wishes known to the council."

And, the mayor encouraged people in the community to vote and to be extra cautious Sunday night, Halloween, of children who will be trick-or-treating.

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