$1.78 million coming to projects in Hoquiam/Elma, announced Rep. Kilmer

Representative Derek Kilmer announced that he was able to help secure more than $1.78 million in new federal funding to support community projects in Grays Harbor. 

The funding was passed with bipartisan support in the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Biden. 

The funding includes: 

  • $500,000 for the City of Hoquiam’s West Fork Dam Removal and Drinking Water Supply Project
  • $1,288,000 for the City of Elma’s Emergency & Public Safety Operations Center

City of Hoquiam’s West Fork Dam Removal and Drinking Water Supply Project 

The City of Hoquiam will receive $500,000 for the West Fork Dam Removal and Drinking Water Supply Project – a project that aims to address environmental and economic concerns in Hoquiam.

The project will remove the West Fork Dam, which is described as a significant barrier to salmon habitat, and provide a sustainable drinking water source for the community.

According to Kilmer and the city, removing the dam offers cost-effective benefits for salmon populations and creates a resilient groundwater source to attract new manufacturing jobs.

Once completed, the project, along with the Aberdeen-Hoquiam Flood Protection Project, aims to help revitalize the community, creating jobs and generating economic benefits through a reliable water source and enhanced salmon habitat.

“The City of Hoquiam’s initiative to remove the West Fork Dam and secure a sustainable drinking water source represents a pivotal move towards environmental restoration and economic revitalization in Grays Harbor County,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This project, underpinned by significant federal funding, not only promises to open up vital salmon habitats but also to bolster Hoquiam’s infrastructure, ensuring a reliable water supply for future growth. And having the federal government provide substantial funding means that the costs of this project won’t solely be borne by taxpayers and ratepayers in our region. That’s a big deal!”

 “The Hoquiam West Fork Dam Removal and Water Supply Project will remove the second worst fish barrier in Western Washington opening up 13 miles of new salmon habitat,” said Brian Shay, City Administrator, Hoquiam. “We have been pursuing this project for over a decade and now with this significant federal funding, we are on track to remove the dam, install new drinking water wells, and upgrade the Hoquiam Water Treatment Plant within the next 5 years. This is extremely exciting news for our community!”

City of Elma’s Emergency & Public Safety Operations Center 

The City of Elma will receive $1,288,000 for improvements to the Emergency & Public Safety Operations Center.

Elma’s police department are currently located in a building that was constructed in 1980 and adapted for use as a police station, although officials state it lacks space for police and first responder programs and has no capacity for an Emergency Operations Center.

“It currently lacks audio, video, telecommunications, security, and backup power systems, and there is no space for community engagement or meeting with the public. The existing site also lacks secured parking and assembly areas for emergency vehicles and logistics and does not comply with today’s building codes, energy codes, or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”

Elma plans to purchase and renovate FaithLife Church Northwest to co-locate an Emergency Operations Center and Training Center for first responders and the Elma Police Department. The new facility will also serve as a training center for officer community policing and a shared space for community events.

“The development of a state-of-the-art Emergency & Public Safety Operations Center in Elma marks a significant leap forward in our commitment to ensuring the safety and readiness of the local community,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This project not only addresses the critical need for modernized facilities for first responders but also creates a versatile space for community policing training and public engagement. With this grant, the federal government is making in investment in Elma’s emergency preparedness and laying the groundwork for future development. That’s a win for this growing community and for its taxpayers.”

“The City of Elma promotes a healthy, safe, and vibrant community,” said Josh Collette, Mayor, City of Elma. “It continues to place the highest priority on the public’s safety and well-being. Improving the facilities for our police department creates a safer environment for staff, and it will help the city better serve its citizens. This investment is going to make Elma a safer place to live, and its impact will be felt throughout the surrounding communities. Through the addition of an emergency operations center in eastern Grays Harbor County, we will be able to add a key component to our emergency response. On behalf of the City of Elma, I want to express our deepest gratitude for the support in funding this project. We could not complete it without this help.”

“As the City of Elma is focused on preparing for times of emergency, our public servants have to have adequate facilities, essential equipment, and training to do their jobs,” said Susan Shultz, Chief of Police, City of Elma. “Currently, our safety center is located in a 1300 square foot building, which is insufficient to serve as our emergency management operations center. Elma’s population growth has recently grown with the expectation of additional growth in the near future. This Federal grant means Elma’s City leaders, law enforcement officers, and Incident Management Team will have an emergency operations center to conduct training to better prepare for the protection of our citizens. The Elma’s Community Safety and Operations Center will serve the first responders and citizens of East Grays Harbor County for years to come.”