Commissioners of Port District No. 1 decided last Wednesday to commit $60,000 as a share for construction of a building to house a brewery at the Elochoman Slough Marina.
The commissioners ultimately agreed to have the port manager and attorney draw up a contract with Drop Anchor Brewery. Manager Jackie Lea will act as general contractor, with a $60,000 cap on the port’s financial responsibility. If acceptable bids are received, the onus will be on Drop Anchor’s investors to pick up the difference.
Andy Lea and Richard Erickson, representatives of Drop Anchor Brewery, presented two options to commissioners of Port District No. 1 last Wednesday, hoping to move forward with their project.
Andy Lea discussed the recent storage unit proposal as well as the original and preferred idea of a stand alone building on Third Street.
“We would be really appreciative,” he said, “if we could get a decision on one of these two tonight. We want it to be at the marina.”
"It’s nice to that you want to be here,” said Commissioner Larry Bonds, “and as far as I’m concerned it’s fine if you are here. I won’t be willing to vote for something that is going to cost the port that much money on an idea. I just don’t think the port should invest that much money.
"We’ve got a lot on our plate. We’ve got the sewage ponds over here we have to consider, we’ve got dredging we’ve got to consider, just our infrastructure alone needs work all the time. We have other things that we have to do.”
"I think that we fit within your mission," said Drop Anchor group member Richard Erickson, “and I also feel that in 10 years the building will be paid off with a handsome profit and you’ll own a nice building and if we move on, you will have made a very good investment and a proper decision for the port. If you feel that spending $60,000 is too much to end up owning the building . . .”
“I’m not so sure that I feel that $60,000 is too much,” Bonds said. “I don’t think it will happen for $60,000.”
“If it goes more than that,” Erickson responded, “then we’ll pay the difference or cut the size of the building. We’re trying to work with you all to make it fit within that budget.”
In other business, commissioners approved the upgrade of computers and software for the marina office. Commissioners also approved repair of the port truck that recently seized and caught fire.
Letters have been sent to the owners of two derelict boats. There has been no response at this time. Commissioners continued to discuss options on how to move forward. No decision was made.
In a last bit of business, the commissioners also agreed to let Port 2 have a go at operating County Line Park if it becomes available to them.
The park is located in Wahkiakum County on land under Port 1's jurisdiction. Cowlitz County operates the park but wants to shed it and other small parks. Commissioners of Port 2 have expressed interest in operating the park and have been seeking concurrence from commissions of Port 1 and Wahkiakum County.