PORT ORCHARD — Ambitious plans submitted by investment partners to build a downtown community events center in Port Orchard is now in the hands of the Kitsap Public Facilities District.
The Port Orchard consortium, Sound West Port Orchard LLC, has requested $14 million from KPFD to help construct the $21,430,000 project, which it has named the South Kitsap Community Events Center.
KPFD, which meets on Monday, Jan. 14, will begin the review process that ultimately will determine the fate of the proposed 24,000 square foot facility. The independent municipal corporation, which manages Washington state sales tax rebate funds allocated to Kitsap County, selects projects valued at least $10 million to partially fund that it determines best benefits the community for funding.
Sego said KPFD board members will listen to Sound West Group’s full presentation at a meeting on Feb. 25.
To receive funding from the organization, a project requires a match of dollars and/or labor from a public partner equal to a third of the project value. Legislation passed in 2017 gives the KPFD the ability to sell bonds against future income between 2027 and 2041 that could amount to $15 million or more, according to the organization.
The public partners tentatively identified in South West Group’s filing are the Port of Bremerton and Kitsap Regional Library, according to Steve Sego, the group’s president and principal of Waterman Investment Partners. Sego also is co-owner of The Dock Bar & Eatery.
“South Kitsap has been in need of a central gathering place for decades, a venue to provide a multitude of functions and uses that would serve the public and business needs of our community,” Sego wrote in an introductory letter to the district’s board.
“Too often we hear that Port Orchard and South Kitsap have so much potential — we agree and are committed to seeing that potential fulfilled. This will start with the development of a Community Events Center that will provide amenities with a full range of options for small and large users while attracting visitors from throughout the region.”
South West Group’s application to KPFD touts the economic benefits and tax revenues the community events center will bring to the local area and Kitsap County. The application stated that the center would attract thousands of local and out-of-area visitors who would, in turn, increase retail and service business in South Kitsap.
The investment group also stated that the project’s design was innovative and takes advantage of its waterfront location by linking to the expanded Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway.
“It will be a true public facility unlike any other in Kitsap County. The community is welcomed to ‘climb all over it,’” the report stated.
The Kitsap Regional Library’s Port Orchard branch, now situated in a building on Sidney Avenue next to the waterfront, would relocate to the community events center, where it would occupy a substantial portion of the building.
The investment group also noted in the application that in addition to KPFD funding, it would also seek financial support from state Department of Commerce grant funds and other state sources, as well as lodging tax and Recreation and Conservation Office grants.
“We’re very optimistic about our prospects for support, and expect that we’ll know our timeline and full funding options by March,” Sego said after the application submittal.