AAPA Seaports Advisory

Community Outreach: Bellingham

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Bellingham: Port Supports Small Cities with Economic Development Funds

Four small cities in Whatcom County will get extra help with economic development projects this year from the Port of Bellingham. In total, the port’s board of commissioners has approved spending $75,000 in matching funds for projects in Blaine, Sumas, Ferndale and Lynden.

More specifically, the port funds will be used to evaluate community attitude, infrastructure gaps and create an action plan for civic improvements in downtown Blaine, complete a circuit and fuse analysis for the city-owned electric utility in Sumas, support the construction of a connecting road link with Interstate 5 in Ferndale, and address central street access to the Historic Business Districts in downtown Lynden.

Since the fund was created in 2004, the port has provided more than $600,000 to small cities to advance projects ranging from street and utility extensions, retail market analysis, and downtown enhancements. Pooling the port contribution with matching funds of some $950,000 from the small city beneficiaries, the program has leveraged more than $20 million in local capital projects.

"The port’s mission is to fulfill the essential transportation and economic development needs of the region" said Port Economic Development Specialist Dodd Snodgrass. "Small cities in Whatcom County are faced with wide range of economic development challenges to develop infrastructure with limited resources. This program allows our small cities to leverage matching funds from the port to implement job-creating projects to meet the cities’ long-term economic development goals."

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