Lewis County commissioners approved an application Monday morning to transfer $1.125 million from Lewis County’s distressed counties fund toward the construction of Michelsen Parkway, which would connect truck traffic from the future Benaroya Pacific Northwest Regional Logistics Center in Winlock to state Route 505.
The stretch of roadway would be the last piece of the puzzle for the site to be shovel-ready for development.
In addition dollars from the distressed counties fund — or .09 fund, comprised of money collected from state sales tax and set aside for rural economic development — matching funds have been secured from the state legislature to the tune of $750,000 and $1.2 million from the Benaroya Company, all to go toward the estimated cost of a little more than $3 million to build the stretch of roadway.
“Based on what the engineer’s saying, I’m confident in those numbers, but things can be different by the time we go out for bid. But the engineering firm is very confident in the numbers they provided,” said Matt Matayoshi, executive director of Lewis Economic Development Council.
The county committee that makes recommendations for use of .09 funds had previously given the city of Winlock a positive recommendation, with the caveat that the city work with the county to create a plan on how to build the road and develop the property. During Monday’s meeting, Matayoshi noted that the application for .09 funds had been updated to have Lewis County Public Works listed as the applicant in place of Winlock — a change that Matayoshi noted garnered no objection from Winlock officials.
Lewis County Commissioner Edna Fund said the reason for the change in application is because the county would be the owner of the road and then responsible for its maintenance.
The project will include about 3,500 feet of new roadway and utilities to provide access to Winlock’s industrial park and SR 505, and upon its completion will be owned and maintained by Lewis County Public Works.
“We’re working on this as quickly as we can, because we have this window of opportunity for construction,” said Fund.
Estimates indicate the completed industrial park could create as many as three to five jobs per acre throughout the 320-acre parcel, mainly in the distribution and manufacturing fields.
Lisa Goodman with Benaroya Company shared a potential site plan for the site, depicting, at its center, two buildings exceeding 1.363 million square feet. She said the site was the largest available industrial site in Western Washington or Oregon.
“It was really good to have (Goodman) present during the meeting and for her comments about working with Lewis County in general. … It just really said a lot about, we’re in a good situation right now with the economy picking up. … It felt really good at that meeting to know that things were happening,” said Fund.