Rock Island silicon smelter remodel plans move forward

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Rock Island

ROCK ISLAND, WA.-Rock Island’s waterfront is getting closer to a major facelift. The town is working with the Port of Douglas County on plans to repurpose the old silicon smelter property and restore the area’s riverfront for recreational use. The smelter has sat abandoned since it closed in 2003 but now appears to be on a fast-track for redevelopment. Port Commissioner Jim Huffman says its been a community driven planning process from the start .

The Port used a $50,000 state grant to commission a study by Graham Baba Architects to determine if the two biggest buildings on the property can be reused. It’s the same firm that worked on the Pybus Market remodel design.

Rock Island
Graham Baba Architects rendering of proposed redevelopment of Rock Island silicon plant property

They’ve drafted plans to rezone the 20 acre property into a waterfront/innovation district that would include a mix of office space, focused on research and development, education classrooms, hotel, restaurant and brewery with outdoor event space and waterfront activities.

Graham Baba Architects rendering of Southeast Corner of silicon plant site property

Port Executive Director Lisa Parks says the port had previously received two different grants totaling 290-thousand dollars from the Washington State Department of Ecology for environmental assessment work on the old plant site, as well as the Rock Island Waterfront Subarea Plan. At their meeting this week Port commissioners conditionally approved a 120-thousand dollar State grant to complete supplemental environmental assessment work on the property including the buildings.

[IMG: Aerial site plan, Northwest Corner, Southeast corner]

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Steve Hair
Steve Hair is a 40-year veteran broadcast journalist who comes to NCW LIFE TV after a long career in radio. Steve and his wife Lynette and their three sons moved to the Wenatchee Valley from Central California in 1992. Steve served as News Director for KPQ News where he covered a multitude of stories of importance to North Central Washington, including two of Washington State’s largest wildfires. During his radio career Steve has received many awards from organizations such as the Associated Press, (Sacramento and Seattle Bureaus) The Washington State Farm Bureau, and the California Medical Association. Steve is a sports addict. Time off usually finds him sprawled out on the couch watching the Seahawks, Mariners or anything that prevents him from doing house chores.