The EDC is optimistic about our future economic prospects. From buildings going up to new companies moving in, the completion of the Legislative Session, streetscapes, planning in Packwood, we are making steps in the right direction. To use a baseball analogy, we are “hitting singles”. We are confident that the ground work that we are laying now will set the stage for future business investment in Lewis County.
The Industrial Commission is nearing completion of a 10,000-square foot building on Bishop Road. The metal building features two grade doors, a large yard area with full insulation and LED lighting. The building is available for lease or sale and would be a great facility for a manufacturer. To learn more about the new building go to Industrial Commission Building link or contact Benjamin Baria at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kellogg Supply Inc.
Kellog, a company based out of California, purchased a few acres of property north of Winlock. They will be starting up a fertilizer plant. The Lewis EDC has connected them with the County and are awaiting updates on their needs as they move forward.
After nearly two years of work by a number of local and State organizations including the Port of Chehalis, Centralia College, Chehalis School District, Life Science Washington, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, Washington State Department of Commerce, Governor Inslee, and the EDC, we have learned that the biomedical company has decided to stay in Phoenix and expand their operation in the Phoenix area. We want to thank everyone in the community for your efforts and assistance to recruit this client. We are certain that without the numerous partnerships we would not have made it this far in their process. We are confident that our efforts collectively have positioned our community for the next business recruitment opportunity. We look forward to continuing to work together to create jobs and economic opportunities for all residents of Lewis County.
The EDC bimonthly membership luncheon was held at Riverside Golf Course. State legislators provided an update on the 2017 Legislative session. Speaking at the event was Senator John Braun of the 20th District along with Representatives Bud Blake and Jim Walsh from the 19th Legislative Districts. The discussion of the meeting revolved around the capital budget that has not yet been approved. Representative Blake stated in this meeting that the Hirst decision, a court decision affecting water rights for exempt wells, needs to be resolved because of its inflexibility and inability to work in the 19th and 20th districts. Representative Walsh spoke of the rising distrust around the Hirst decision.
Senator Braun stated his hope to have the approval of the budget around November.
Despite this temporary roadblock, the state transportation and operating budgets were approved by Legislature, as well as school funding to address the McCleary Decision, and the allocation of resources to mental health facilities. Braun stated that fully funding teachers’ salaries is crucial to a new per pupil funding model. This model will improve equity around the state. The levy tax reform was also discussed and will help equalize the levy rates within Washington state, resulting in a 72 percent reduction for state residents. Money was allocated also to mental health this year, moving those with mental health issues out of big hospitals and into private care units.
Business Retention & Expansion:
EDC is supporting efforts to develop streetscapes and safety improvements for the communities of Toledo and Packwood. As a result, the task authorizations have been signed for Toledo and Packwood Streetscapes and Safety Improvements. These streetscapes will be designed with help from community representatives and stakeholders from each town and may include sidewalks, streetlights, planter boxes, and building transition between pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The next step in the process will be to meet with improvement committees from Toledo and Packwood to draw up a rough draft of the improvements and establish a rendering.
Hardel Mutual Plywood
Hardel Mutual Plywood is a local manufacturer of standard and custom plywood panels. Their business is growing and recently they completed a lighting project at their site and also increased the diversification of their veneer by buying from multiple suppliers. Business is going so well now that they are currently undergoing an additional expansion at their facility. They are adding a specialty press for their overlays that is 4×10 press to boost output and they have contractors on site right now. Their future expansion plans (1-2 years) include adding 100,000 sq. ft. behind their existing building to further meet demand for their products. Please learn more about them and support this local business at http://hardel.com/about-hardel.
We have an upcoming meeting this month with representatives from local government to pinpoint areas within the community that will provide opportunities for future economic growth. There is a great need for housing development along the I-5 Corridor, including Centralia and Chehalis. Lewis County has not experienced a level of development that we see in communities to the north.