Q. Why consider consolidation when Satsop Business Park and the Port of Grays Harbor are doing just fine separately?
A. Why not? The Public Development Authority (PDA), which serves as the Park’s governing board, regularly examines all the possibilities for the Park’s future. The idea of consolidating with the Port of Grays Harbor, which has been discussed for years, came to the forefront of the board when key members of senior management at the Park announced their plans to retire. After much study, the PDA believes now is the best time to consider consolidating with the Port to attract the private investment we need to create jobs for the citizens of Grays Harbor.
Q. What will be gained by this consolidation?
A. Joint discussions between the Port Commissioners and Satsop Business Park’s Board of Directors as well as staff discussion have revealed that the two entities have much to gain through consolidation. A few examples of the benefits of consolidation include:
• Increased efficiencies – eliminate duplication of activities, equipment, services and expenses, and combine activities such as lease and contract administration, purchasing, billings, accounting, payroll, insurance, etc.
• Improved effectiveness – combined strengths of the two staffs complement one another (reducing the need to contract out for some services). Also there would be combined marketing efforts and a much greater portfolio of properties, buildings and facilities to offer to prospective clients.
• Marketing and promotion of Satsop Business Park to users and tenants of the Port of Grays Harbor, taking advantage of the attention the Port’s recent successes are generating globally.
• Consolidation of governance from a combined nine individuals to the three elected Port Commissioners.
• Combined strategic planning that promotes job creation and investment – targeting the limited public dollars available to best serve the Grays Harbor region.
Q. Why now?
A. Over the last 13 years the GHPDA has successfully redeveloped the former nuclear site into a first-class business park with top-notch infrastructure and facilities, fulfilling its original purpose. The organizational structure of a Public Development Authority has provided the public entities that supported the formation of the PDA (the County, the Port and the PUD) separation from risk of converting the former power plant’s assets into leasable land, buildings and utilities. However, at times the PDA’s unique structure has been a hindrance to attracting customers. Being part of the Port could simplify business recruitment and, would be a welcome enticement for future customers.
Q. Who owns Satsop Business Park and how would this change?
A. The GHPDA owns all the assets of the Park, land, buildings, water rights, and most of its utility infrastructure. Ownership would transfer directly to the Port of Grays Harbor. Both are countywide public entities, so the Grays Harbor citizens would continue to own the assets of the Park.
Q. What about the businesses located at the Park?
A. For existing customers, staff will work to make the transition as seamless as possible. All leases and contractual agreements would also transfer to the Port.
The Port operates an entire division (Industrial Properties) that performs the same leasing functions as Satsop Business Park. New customers may find reassurance in their decision to locate at the Park because ports are recognized economic development entities around the world.
Q. Will there still be onsite staff at the Park?
A. Yes. The Port of Grays Harbor will be able to utilize the expertise of the onsite staff to continue to manage and build the Park, while providing support and a depth of management and expertise from the main office. Through the consolidation of staff, both organizations will benefit from the expertise currently serving each individually. The goal of consolidation would be to build a stronger, deeper staff, operating more efficiently to serve their customers and the community.
Q. Doesn’t the Port just do shipping?
A. No. The Port of Grays Harbor currently manages multiple facilities and lines of business including the Marine Terminals, industrial properties, the Westport Marina, Bowerman Airport and pilotage. Satsop Business Park would become an additional facility and line of business.
Q. The Port already has land, why does it need more?
A. The Port’s initiative to encourage private investment on public property so that businesses will have a stake in the success of their Grays Harbor operations, has resulted in nearly 80 percent of all port-owned properties currently being utilized. The remaining 20 percent includes environmentally sensitive areas that have been set aside for mitigation and other enhancement projects. A visit to the Port Industrial Area, Terminal 3 and Westport Marina demonstrates that the land is being used, with only small areas remaining for future growth. The addition of Satsop Business Park to the Port’s property portfolio will open the door for non-marine customers wishing to have a presence closer to the I-5 corridor. This will also allow for more managed growth of the limited industrial property resource along the working waterfront.
Q. Will the Port honor Satsop Business Park’s Master Plan, including the Forest Management Plan?
A. Yes. In addition, Grays Harbor County has also adopted the Satsop Business Park’s Master Plan as a component of the County’s official Land Use Plan.
Q. Will the forestry program that is a partnership with Grays Harbor College continue?
A. Yes. There is a long-term contract in place to continue that partnership.
For more information about the potential consolidation, call Satsop Business Park at 482-1600 or the Port of Grays Harbor at 533-9528.