Three cities in Thurston County will receive an economic boost from the Port of Olympia in 2012. The commission will award Bucoda, Rainier and Yelm up to $10,000 each in matching funds for specific projects through the port’s pilot Small City Economic Development Program.

“The port is committed to serving its entire district which is Thurston County,” said Jeff Davis, Commission president. “With economic development as one of our missions, the pilot Small Cities’ program will boost the economic and community development in the district’s smaller communities.”

Last year the pilot program supported its first projects, which totaled $18,700 for Bucoda and Yelm.

Bucoda is restoring the historic Oddfellows Building into a new community center that will employ staff and will accommodate events that bring in rental income. It  also will include a museum and food bank, and will serve as an emergency shelter during disasters. The port funding will help complete projects in the kitchen and ballroom areas. Bucoda’s match from other sources is $145,500.

Businesses in and around Rainier currently use on-site septic systems for obtaining wastewater treatment. Without a sewer system, Rainier’s commercial growth has been extremely difficult. With a sewer system, the city is confident that it can attract businesses such as a chain grocer, restaurants, medical facilities, etc. The port funding will help with the costs of preparing and obtaining approval of the Wastewater Facility Plan required by the State Department of Ecology. Rainier’s match from other sources is $35,000.

Yelm is improving Mosman Avenue, a commercial collector that provides access to facilities and amenities including a golf course, businesses, city park, residences and the Yelm-Tenino Trail. The port funding will help offset the design and right-of-way fees associated with getting the project ready for bidding purposes. Yelm’s match from other sources is $1.31 million.