A new business park in the early stages of development at the Port of Kalama is expected to significantly boost job opportunities in Cowlitz County while adding millions of dollars to local tax revenue rolls.
Last week, the city of Kalama approved a master plan to develop 70 acres of port property to make way for the anticipated Spencer Creek Business Park. Located north of Kalama River Road at exit 32 on Interstate-5, the park will feature more than 500,000 square feet of light industrial, office, commercial and retail space when built-out. Potential site uses may include a new hotel, big box store, restaurants and more.
The collaborative project has been several years in the making, beginning with the port acquiring property east of I-5 approximately 15 years ago. Additional prior steps in the park’s development include the annexation of the 357-acre “East Port” area into city boundaries and approval by the city of Kalama on a new zoning code.
“This annexation offers terrific benefits to the city and our residents as it expands Kalama’s tax base,” said Kalama Mayor Pete Poulsen. “We can expect a substantial economic impact and additional funds for important city projects going forward. This partnership between the city and the port is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with a shared common vision for the future of this fine community.”
The Port of Kalama, which was recently named “Port of the Year” by the Washington Association of Business, envisions a 20-year investment and build-out program for the area, and officials said an economic evaluation is currently pending to ensure progress is made in an environmentally responsible fashion.
“The city and the port have worked together to create common planning goals for future development, and we’ve created a road map for establishing a vibrant mixed-use district,” added Poulsen.
To help ensure Spencer Creek is a success, the port has developed a regional recreational draw in Haydu Park, a 24-acre recreational facility located on Kalama River Road across from the business park. Opened this summer, the park features new baseball, soccer & softball fields, a horse riding arena, tennis courts, basketball courts, on-site parking, and an expo area available for reservations. The facility also includes hiking trails and access to several thousand feet of Kalama River frontage.
“The development of this business center – and expansion of neighboring recreational facilities at Haydu Park – support our strategy for economic growth in the Cowlitz region and position Kalama as a relocation destination for diverse industries,” said Randy Sweet, Port of Kalama Commission president.
“The impact of the new Haydu Park cannot be understated for its impact in addressing Kalama’s need for additional sports and recreation space,” added Sweet. “And, with the increased space, sports clubs will have the facilities to host team tournaments from all over the region which will increase destination tourism and revenues to the area.”
The city of Kalama and the Port of Kalama together earned the 2014 Governor’s Smart Communities Award for their collaboration on planning Spencer Creek Business Park.
The award recognizes outstanding efforts of local communities and their partners throughout the state of Washington to create quality communities through achieving the goals of the Growth Management Act and other community development objectives.