Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board invests $3.3 million in four counties

$2 million grant for rural broadband in Whatcom among five projects approved for funding at CERB November meeting.

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) last week approved $2,431,250 in grants and $843,750 in low-interest loans for economic development, public infrastructure, and broadband development.

Projects awarded funding are located in Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, and Whatcom counties and will spur business growth, job creation and high-speed internet connections.

  • Cowlitz County – $843,750 loan and a $281,250 grant to the Port of Woodland for the “Rose Way Industrial Park Building #1” project. This project consists of construction of a 15,000-square-foot building, including mobilization, earthwork and grading; extending and connecting water, sewer and stormwater systems; utilities; parking lot, curbs and sidewalks. This project is expected to create 40 jobs at above the county median wage. CERB funds are matched by $1,327,070 in local resources.
  • Grays Harbor County – $50,000 grant to the Port of Grays Harbor for the “Westport Marina Modernization Project Plan.” This project consists of a modernization plan for the moorage infrastructure of the Westport Marina. CERB funds are matched by $30,000 in local resources.
  • King County – $50,000 grant to the City of Federal Way for the “Federal Way Broadband Planning Study.” This project consists of a feasibility study to assess the potential for developing a high-speed city fiber network for Federal Way. CERB funds are matched by $25,000 in federal ARPA funds.
  • Whatcom County – $50,000 grant to Public Utility District No. 1 of Whatcom County for the “Whatcom PUD #1 Broadband Mapping and Feasibility Study.” This project consists of a feasibility study to assess the potential to bring high-speed broadband to Whatcom County. CERB funds are matched by $12,500 in local resources.
  • Whatcom County – $2 million grant from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund to the Port of Bellingham for the “Whatcom County Rural Broadband Project.” This project consists of construction of approximately 47 miles of middle- and last-mile fiber in north Whatcom County along the Canadian border. The internet service provider is Pogozone. This project is expected to create 240 connections at a speed of 300/70 Mbps and 210 connections at a speed of 1G/1G, with three internet service providers servicing the area. CERB funds were matched by $1,000,000 in local resources.

“CERB’s role is to be responsive to local needs by making timely and smart investment decisions. The board is pleased to collaborate with each of these communities to plan for future private sector jobs and broadband connectivity for Washington families,” said CERB Chair Randy Hayden.

“CERB is an essential partner with local public and private investors in strengthening Washington’s rural communities,” said Washington State Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Infrastructure development, especially expansion of broadband, is critical for an equitable statewide economic recovery that provides access to opportunities for all.”

The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.

Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $203 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 36,000 jobs, and private capital investment of $5.8 billion – a $29-to-$1 return on CERB investments. Read the 2020 CERB Legislative Report.

Since 2018, CERB has committed $35.8 million to rural broadband infrastructure for local jurisdictions and Tribes. These investments are estimated to generate 20,622 connections through 27 projects across 70 rural, underserved communities. Read the 2020 CERB Rural Broadband Legislative Report to learn more.

As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects. Learn more about CERB at www.commerce.wa.gov/cerb.


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