On September 21, 2023, the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) approved $6.6 million in low-interest loans and $150,000 in grants for economic revitalization and public infrastructure renovation intended to spur business growth and job creation in Benton, Kittitas, Klickitat and Whitman counties.
Among the projects awarded funding is a world-first sustainable, zero-carbon fertilizer plant in Richland. Atlas Agro North America Corp. will invest $1 billion in a new facility to produce nitrogen-based fertilizer from green hydrogen that will support sustainable food production in the Pacific Northwest. The facility will have the capability to produce nearly one million tons of fertilizer annually, and bolsters Washington’s emerging hydrogen economy.
“These low-interest loans and grants mean more jobs and economic sustainability for Washington’s rural communities. This successful approach has created thousands of jobs and attracted private investment totaling billions of dollars over the years. Today’s news continues that legacy of opportunity for the state’s residents,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.
$4 million low-interest loan to the City of Richland for the “North Horn Rapids Sewer Extension.”
This project will build new sewer infrastructure to expand the Horn Rapids Industrial Park.
Their Committed Private Partner, Atlas Agro North America Corp., is investing $1 billion in the project, and is expected to create 160 jobs. CERB funds are matched by $1 million in local resources.
$75,000 grant to Kittitas County for the “Bowers Field Business Park Feasibility Study.”
This study will evaluate the feasibility of developing approximately 850 acres of land surrounding the Kittitas County Airport (Bowers Field). CERB funds are matched by $47,200 in local resources.
$1 million low-interest loan to the Port of Klickitat for the “DIP 151E Building Project.”
This project includes the construction of a shell for a new 10,000 square foot facility, including the extension of utilities and infrastructure. Their Committed Private Partner, Full Circle LLC, dba Wood Family Spirits, is investing $2.5 million in the project, and is expected to create 36 jobs. CERB funds are matched by $1 million in local resources.
$75,000 grant to the City of Bingen for the “Bingen Waterline Extension Study.”
This study will assess the feasibility of developing a 2.34 acre plot of land along SR-14, currently zoned commercial. CERB funds are matched by $75,000 in local resources.
$1.6 million low-interest loan to the Port of Whitman County for the “Central Ferry Rail Spur and Water Extension Project.”
This project construct a rail siding and waterline extension to serve Lot I at the Port’s Central Ferry site.
Their Committed Private Partner, Agrow Solutions LLC, is investing $2.5 million in the project, and is expected to create and retain 14 jobs. CERB funds are matched by $400,000 in private resources.
“CERB’s mission of creating jobs and building sustainable economies statewide is vital to Washington. Infrastructure investments are a fundamental piece of community growth and stability. This funding will help strengthen the future economy of these communities by creating high-wage jobs and helping these businesses thrive,” said CERB Chair Michael Echanove.
The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.
Since 1982, CERB has committed more than $243.8 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 39,000 jobs, and private capital investment of $6.3 billion – a $26-to-$1 return on CERB investments.
Photo of Governor Jay Inslee courtesy of Washington State Legislative Support Services.