SILVERDALE — The Kitsap Public Facilities District is “open for business” again.
For the past 15 years, funds available to Kitsap PFD were limited to three projects that began in the early 2000s.
But now the Kitsap Public Facilities District has announced that due to the passage of state Legislature measure EHB1201, a major milestone has been achieved — the sales tax rebate that provides funding to public facilities districts statewide was extended through 2041.
The extension will allow the PFD to sell bonds to raise more money to invest in new projects in Kitsap County.
“I’ve been spending the last 10 years telling people ‘we can’t do that,’” said Mike Walton, the executive director of Kitsap Public Facilities District. “People have stopped asking the PFD if there’s any funding available. We want to get the word out that we’re back in the business of funding projects.”
Kitsap PFD provided $7 million for the Kitsap Conference Center in downtown Bremerton and $4 million in upgrades and improvements at the Kitsap Fairgrounds and Events Center.
In North Kitsap, Kitsap PFD provided money for artificial turf and to lengthen the track to conform with international standards; helped to install turf, lights and stands at Strawberry Field; and made investments in the North Kitsap Community Pool and theater.
With a new revenue stream, Walton said he will be visiting local councils to make presentations. Projects, he said, must have a public partner and must be valued at more than $10 million.
“It does have to be a fairly large project in excess of $10 million, that’s the total value of the project, buildings and land that may be involved,” Walton said. “We would be able to finance some part of that. We do need to have some other public partner.”
There is one project that Walton referred to as “essentially shovel-ready.”
It is known as Circuit of the Northwest. A group of local business owners is looking to build a large motorsports venue on a piece of property on Highway 3 across the street from the Bremerton Airport. This area is already home to the Bremerton MotorSports Park.
Walton said the group has cleared the necessary environmental checks and permits, and has obtained a 50-year lease from the Port of Bremerton, which owns the land and recently approached Kitsap PFD about the possibility of obtaining funds for the project.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.