December 23, 2022

Kilmer Secures $5.5 Million in New Federal Funding for Community Projects in Jefferson County

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act, government funding legislation that includes new federal funding for local priorities in Jefferson County. Specifically, the government funding package includes:


  • $2.5 million for the City of Port Townsend for its Sewer Pump Station Project
  • $3 million for Jefferson County for its Port Hadlock Sewer Project


The funds for the City of Port Townsend will assist with installing a new sewer pump station to service the Evans Vista neighborhood, which will support the community-based development of 100-150 mixed-income affordable and workforce housing units.  The Port Hadlock funding will help construct pressure sewer collection lines and publicly owned grinder pump connections on several key streets – enabling connections to the Chimacum Primary School, the Public Library, affordable, multi-family housing, senior housing, small businesses, and a supermarket.


“Across our region, we need more affordable housing. But that's only going to get built if we have the infrastructure needed to support it,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why I’m proud to secure a combined $5.5 million for two important infrastructure projects in Jefferson County that can help us provide the services needed to build new housing and service residents at essential community locations.”


"In our outreach to the Jefferson County business community we’ve documented that the shortage of affordable housing in Jefferson County plays a significant role in the ability of businesses to hire and retain employees. Another common business constraint is the limited ability to expanding operations locally - in particular, limits imposed by inadequate sewer infrastructure. Funding sewer infrastructure to allow for increasing affordable housing capacity and local business expansion will help ease pressure on the people who live here, who are contributing to our community and doing their best to build sustainable livelihoods,” said Cindy Brooks, Executive Director, EDC Team Jefferson.


In recent years, Port Townsend has faced significant challenges when it comes to housing. Housing prices have been rising at or faster than national trends, with extremely low availability of houses for purchase and rent at nearly all levels of affordability. In 2017, a housing emergency was declared. In response, the City of Port Townsend acted to acquire a 14-acre parcel within a “live/work” district designated in the 2018 Rainier Subarea Plan and well-served by transit and trails, close to current and future jobs/employers in a light industrial/commercial district, and adjacent to amenities like grocery and retail. Thus far, public sanitary sewer capacity is the primary constraint for this property, now known as “Evans Vista,” in making it ready for the development of affordable housing. With critical public sewer construction and improvements, the Evans Vista property will be prepared for development – so the region can create economic opportunity and housing in the larger surrounding unsewered area, and deliver environmental benefits by minimizing onsite systems in the area which would drain into Port Townsend Bay. The project, which seeks to unlock quality, affordable, accessible, and sustainable housing of 100-150 units, is also expected to enable at least 125 long term jobs.


“I am thrilled that infrastructure funding for Port Townsend has advanced out of House Committee and will soon be considered by the full US House of Representatives,” said Port Townsend Mayor David Faber. “Affordable and work force housing is critical to the current and future success of our community, and I am grateful to Representative Kilmer and his team for collaborating with us on advancing our important work at Evans Vista.” 


“The City of Port Townsend is committed to playing a lead role in addressing a devastating shortage of affordable and workforce housing. By taking on infrastructure needs at Evans Vista and by working in close partnership with our residents, housing providers and advocates, sister agencies, and state and federal governments to envision and fund a successful project, we can and will make a difference,” said Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro. “The challenge is too big and the urgency too great not to work together with everyone willing to play a role, and to do so right now. A huge thanks to Representative Kilmer and his team for their leadership and support.” 


The Port Hadlock project will bring sewer service to Port Hadlock, Jefferson County’s only unincorporated Urban Growth Area (UGA). This is expected to bring economic opportunities for commercial growth leading to job opportunities. Additionally, the sewer will enable the development of affordable housing for working families and seniors in unincorporated Jefferson County. Port Hadlock is currently served by individual septic systems and lacks a municipal sewer which is required under Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA) to “turn on” the urban zoning created in the Plan and allow investments in housing and business development to occur. The project will enable the City to construct pressure sewer collection lines and publicly owned grinder pump connections on several key streets – enabling connections to the Chimacum Primary School, the Public Library, affordable, multi-family housing, senior housing, small businesses, and the supermarket. In addition, Port Hadlock, like much of Jefferson County, is surrounded by sensitive marine environments, shellfish-rich beaches, and streams providing habitat for threatened salmon. The County’s critical areas code and Comprehensive Plan are designed to protect these habitats while allowing for the expansion of housing and job growth.


“Jefferson County is extremely grateful that Congressman Kilmer understands the importance of rural infrastructure. The Port Hadlock sewer is critical for putting growth where it belongs- in urban growth areas. Building a sewer system takes to land that was previously occupied by septic systems and makes it available for businesses to expand and housing to be built more densely and affordably, such as a 160-unit Habitat for Humanity project in planning, made possible by the sewer.  It also replaces aging septic systems near sensitive marine shorelines and tidelands with state-of-the-art treatment, recharging clean water back into the Chimacum aquifer,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean. “Rural communities have a long history of partnering with the federal government on infrastructure and sanitation projects. Jefferson County will break ground on this project, one of the only new municipal sewers in the state of Washington, in 2022 thanks to the support of Congressman Kilmer and his staff.”


“Congressman Kilmer recognizes how important the Port Hadlock Sewer is to Jefferson County and has made it a high priority to direct federal funds to this critical infrastructure project. This $3 million Community Funding Project will make it possible to extend sewer service to properties within the Urban Growth Area that are poised to provide desperately needed affordable housing, business opportunities, and jobs that would not be possible without a sewer,” said Jefferson County Public Works Director Monte Reinders. “The Port Hadlock Sewer project, scheduled to break ground in 2023, will use state-of-the-art membrane bioreactor technology to treat wastewater to Class A reclaimed water standards to protect our surrounding streams, shorelines, and environment and replace the many aging and in some cases failing septic systems that currently exist.”


Rep. Kilmer led the effort to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding process.


The Port Townsend project was supported by at least ten local and regional housing providers and agencies, including Bayside Housing & Services, the Community Build, Dove House, Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County, the Housing Solutions Network, Jefferson Community Foundation, OlyCAP, Olympic Housing Trust, Peninsula Housing Authority, and Jefferson County.


The Port Hadlock project was supported by the Jefferson County Public Utility District (PUD #1), Chimacum Schools, Jefferson County Public Library, Habitat for Humanity, Peninsula Housing Authority, Olympic Action Programs (OlyCap), and the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, among others.



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