Community Aspiration Meets Market Opportunity
Client: Port of Douglas County
Location: Rock Island, WA
About the Project
The Port of Douglas County, in partnership with the City of Rock Island, is working to revitalize over 100 acres of waterfront property along the Columbia River. The property has distinguishing assets, including highway and rail access, high power capacity, access to municipal infrastructure systems, and spectacular views of the Columbia River. A silicon smelter formerly operated on the western portion of the property and was one of the largest employers in the county. Closure of the smelter in the late 1990s resulted in a loss of working-class jobs and left a legacy of environmental risk and uncertainty that has deterred new investment.
Meet the Client
The Port of Douglas County is the primary economic development agency in Douglas County, Washington. The port’s main charge is to focus on opportunities that encourage the expansion of private businesses and industries in order to increase job opportunities and revenue for Douglas County’s citizens.
Douglas County is a Growth Management Act county, which requires that industrial land be in a designated major industrial area. For economic growth purposes, it is imperative that these industrial lands be utilized to the fullest extent possible.
MFA led the development of a coordinated subarea plan and environmental impact statement (EIS) for the waterfront. This planning framework engaged the community through research interviews, advisory groups, and public meetings to develop a vision for the future use of the property, testing it with economic and financial analysis to find the alignment of community aspiration and market opportunity.
Ready for Redevelopment
MFA’s focused assessment of soil, groundwater, and sediments to evaluate the risks associated with historical environmental contamination included conceptual site plans integrating remediation into redevelopment of the property and adaptive reuse of the industrial smelter buildings. To provide thorough environmental review and expedited review of future building permits, MFA led a team to prepare a planned action EIS that addressed potential impacts related to traffic, natural and cultural resources, and infrastructure systems.
To provide thorough environmental review and expedited review of future building permits, MFA led a team to prepare a planned action EIS that addressed potential impacts related to traffic, natural and cultural resources, and infrastructure systems.
With the subarea plan adopted and the EIS completed, MFA continues to support the port and the city in implementing priority site improvements and recruiting new users to this exceptional property.
Michael P. Stringer, AICP