OLYMPIA – The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office will recognize the Port of Olympia for an outstanding boating project at a special presentation tonight.The Port of Olympia’s grant application scored Number 1 of 21 projects competing statewide for grant funding in the Boating Facilities Program. Funded through state gasoline taxes from trailered boats, the grant program is designed to maintain boating facilities. The port’s project will replace a boat launch ramp at Swantown Marina in Olympia. The Port will replace the 30-year-old launch ramp floats with more environmentally friendly docks and also will replace the asphalt launching and staging areas. “Washington’s waterways are a treasure. They provide recreation, jobs, transportation and beauty,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “Ensuring that boaters have modern and environmentally-sensitive facilities is essential to preserving recreational boating and protecting Washington’s waterways.” Boating in Washington is big business. The National Marine Manufacturers Association rates Washington State 6th in the 50 states for $489 million in combined boat, motor, trailer, and accessory purchases. There are more than 260,000 boats registered in Washington and countless smaller boats that aren’t required to be registered. Cottingham will present the Recreation and Conservation Office’s Bravo Award to port commissioners at their regular meeting at 5:30 p.m., tonight, in Tumwater Town Center Building 14, 7219 Cleanwater Drive S.W., Tumwater.
The competition for grant funding is high, with projects rated by citizens and professionals on many factors, such as need, how well the project is designed and cost-effectiveness.“Only the best projects get funded,” Cottingham said. “The Port of Olympia doesn’t apply for grants often, but when it does, we consistently see high quality projects. Since 1982, the Port has received six grants for more than $1 million.” In the past four decades, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, through the Boating Facilities Program, has awarded more than $113 million to nearly 650 projects in Washington State. Grant recipients have contributed nearly $64 million in matching resources, bringing the total invested in Washington boating facilities to more than $177 million. The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board was established in 1964 to finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. For more information on the agency or its grant programs, visit the Web site: www.rco.wa.gov.