Port of Port Townsend Commissioner Peter Hanke said he wanted to “clear the air” about Point Hudson’s future and about what role the Northwest Maritime Center (NWMC) may play regarding the point.
Hanke said the port was in the process of working with a consulting firm, Maul Foster Alongi, to look at “what to do with Point Hudson in terms of protecting the historic buildings, managing the properties and the marina, ‘functionalizing without modernizing,’ … the financial stability of Point Hudson and maintaining the public’s access and planning for adaption to face climate change.
“These are all issues that Point Hudson faces. The biggest issue with Point Hudson is we have a $6 million overall price tag to replace the breakwater that is failing dramatically,” Hanke said during the July 26 port meeting.
The port, to date, has raised a little over $1 million for the breakwater. The port plans to repair the south jetty first as it is in worse shape. The south jetty repairs are to cost around $3.8 million, which means the port has to come up with another $2.7 million.
Hanke said the port met with the NWMC to talk about the potential of the NWMC managing Point Hudson, but downplayed the significance of that meeting.
“What has concerned me … is that there is the perception that there is some sort of formal agreement between the Maritime Center and Port of Port Townsend in the future of Point Hudson.
“And I think it’s important for me to clarify there is no agreement: There is no lease, there is no partnership there has been no … formal discussion between our staff and their staff in terms of anything that has to do with the future of Point Hudson other than the idea, the position of the Maritime Center, in terms of its geographic location, the function of the Maritime Center in terms of hosting the Wooden Boat Foundation,” Hanke said.
“It’s really important that we at the port be given the ability to do our process, which we are fully engaged in,” he said.
In a July 26 email to The Leader, the port wrote, “It is the Port’s responsibility to ensure that a transparent and public process ensues; one which considers all options of feasibility for the revitalization of Point Hudson.
“Since we are currently in the middle of this process, the Port is in no position to implement a strategy without thoughtful and public evaluation of potential alternatives for Point Hudson. We have not entered into, nor are we negotiating with, any entity for a master lease or management of the Point Hudson property.
“We are committed to upholding our duties and responsibilities as a government entity and special purpose district, and to engage in a fair, responsible public process that is representative of and considers all constituents in Jefferson County. An alternative for development may include a master lease option; however, it is too soon in the process for the Port to consider such without first conducting due diligence by vetting all alternatives once they have been identified,” the letter states.
“We are on schedule with this process which includes many more opportunities for public engagement and will culminate with a final report in November,” it continues.
The port said an audio recording of the July 12 meeting in which Point Hudson was discussed was not usable and could not be posted on its website. Meeting minutes are available.
NWMC MAKES CASE
During the July 26 port meeting, NWMC Treasurer David King said what the port and NWMC were doing were two independent and separate processes.
The NWMC has started a website, YourPointHudson.org, in which it makes the center’s case for working with the port, possibly to include a lease so that the center could manage the 14-acre Point Hudson area.
“The Maritime Center and the Wooden Boat Foundation that preceded it have thought about Point Hudson as a greater campus for quite some time … decades,” said Jake Beattie, executive director for the NWMC, last week.
“We’re trying to make an attractive version of a low-development case,” Beattie said.
Beattie said Point Hudson was the funky “front porch” for Port Townsend.
The NWMC hosted a fundraiser for its proposal last week at the center’s Maritime Room. The event drew about 180 people, Beattie said, including Sam Gibboney, executive director for the port, and Stephen Tucker, who is a port commissioner.