Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 @ 2:12 p.m. / Infrastructure, Local Government
CC Harbor Looks to Other Grants Following Big $7.36 Million Win; Potential Projects Include Establishing a Police Force
Now that the Crescent City Harbor District has won a $7.36 million federal Port Infrastructure Development Program grant, its harbormaster says he will start seeking bids ASAP to get the seawall replacement project started.
Crescent City Harbor staff are also pursuing additional grants, ones that will pay for the technical reports, design and permitting phase of the seawall replacement project and others that could help establish a police force, Harbormaster Tim Petrick said.
That harbor police force could take the pressure off the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, Petrick told commissioners Tuesday.
“Because the sheriff can never seem to spare people for harbor needs,” he said. “The idea is we can get a harbor patrol boat and we can start doing sea tow and basically support our commercial fishermen now that the Coast Guard is gone. It’s a big undertaking but a lot of public harbors do it and there’s a lot of public money out there for it.”
Administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration, the $7,366,566 Port Infrastructure Development Program grant is the largest influx of money the Crescent City Harbor has received “outside the 2011 tsunami,” Petrick told commissioners.
In addition to replacing a seawall that’s adjacent to and older than Citizens Dock, those grant dollars will replace a public hoist, which will “benefit our commercial fishing industry tremendously,” said commercial fisherman and Harbor District Board president, Rick Shepherd.
“That sea wall was built before Citizens Dock, it’s something like 70 years old,” Shepherd said. “We have to do this.”
Petrick said he’s hoping the seawall replacement project will be finished by the end of 2025.
“I think it’s a big win for the harbor,” he told commissioners Tuesday.
To receive the $7.36 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration, the Crescent City Harbor District committed to contributing 25 percent — about $1.8 million — toward the cost of replacing the seawall. The Harbor District’s 25 percent contribution brings the total project cost to about $9.2 million, Petrick told the Wild Rivers Outpost in September.
The Harbor District’s contribution to receive the grant would be money it would put into the seawall project itself and could come in the form of staff time or other funding. Petrick said the match for the seawall could be paid out over five years.
According to Petrick, this includes $321,195 Port Economic Recovery Grant from the California State Lands Commission that will be used for technical reports required for the seawall construction. It will cost about $437,000 to put together those technical reports with the Crescent City Harbor District’s match requirement being $115,806, according to Petrick’s staff report.
The other grants the Harbor District is pursuing include $1.25 million from the Harbor Mitigation Grant Program administered through the California Office of Emergency Services and FEMA. That funding is also for construction permits, technical reports, design and engineering for the seawall construction project. The Harbor District’s required contribution is $375,000, according to Petrick’s staff report.
The port is also pursuing a $7.5 million Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant through CalOES and FEMA, which would also go to the port’s breakwaters and seawalls.
According to Petrick, in addition to the seawall near Citizens Dock, the port will need about $50 million in repairs and replacements over the next decade.
For the harbor police force, staff are working on a 2022 Emergency Management Performance Grant through the Department of Homeland Security and CalOES. The project amount and the requested grant amount is still to be determined, though the district’s cost-sharing requirement is 15 percent, according to Petrick’s staff report.
The Crescent City Harbor District plans to apply for $382,500 from the 2023 Homeland Security Grant program for the harbor safety boat. If it’s awarded, the district’s match will be $67,500.
The two grant announcements for the boat and harbor police force are expected to come in the fourth quarter of 2023.
During Tuesday’s discussion, Shepherd brought up the $5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan that helped rebuild the inner boat basin following the 2011 tsunami. Shepherd pointed out that the Harbor District didn’t want to take that loan, but the commercial fleet was displaced. He drew a parallel between that situation and the 70-plus-year-old seawall at Citizens Dock.
“This thing’s going to fall in and there will be nothing there and we got to do something before that happens,” he said. “We got to do it somehow and we could not ever come up with that kind of money.”
Shepherd’s colleague, Brian Stone, brought up offshore wind power and a California Energy Commission and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management meeting he attended Monday. Stone said a new bill, AB 209, California’s energy trailer bill, includes support for the buildout of offshore wind power facilities. According to Stone, AB 209 will provide $45 million to build out infrastructure for offshore wind power.
“They’re doing a study of the entire coast of California and they stated in that meeting, this funding will be used for upgrading the harbors,” Stone said. “That’s another possible funding source for us.”
Stone added that the California Energy Commission also offers grants for electric vehicle charging stations.