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.
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.
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]