Photo: The city of Oak Harbor plans to purchase the land outlined in yellow.
By Rachel Rosen
The city of Oak Harbor in Washington plans to use grant money to purchase Mariner’s Haven Boatyard, a private boat storage business adjacent to the Oak Harbor Marina.
At a recent city council meeting, members unanimously approved the motion to authorize Mayor Robert Severns to sign and execute all the necessary contracts and documents for the purchase of the boatyard, which is now in escrow.
Island County awarded the city a $675,000 Rural County Economic Development grant for the purchase back in September 2020. It was the second time the city had applied for the grant. A year before that, county commissioners asked for a business plan and an appraisal.
At the meeting, City Administrator Blaine Oborn explained the purpose of Rural County Economic Development grants is to improve Island’s County’s economy by creating and retaining ongoing private sector jobs. The program offers grants to local governments for public facilities to do things such as retain or expand business within Island County, attract new businesses and support a stable and diversified local economy.
Harbormaster Chris Sublet presented the purchasing details. He said Mariner’s Haven is located at the south end of the launch ramp parking lot and it is primarily a gravel boat storage area with two buildings. The purchased land area also includes a small piece of adjacent property owned by the Claus family.
Sublet said Mariner’s Haven is an existing business and at one time was a “thriving” boatyard that did boat repair, maintenance and storage. Now it is only a storage yard.
Sublet said he believed the purchase would allow the city marina to increase its dry boat storage “which may be very important as we redevelop the marina.”
He said the city would also be able to offer new repair and maintenance facilities and “really turn us into a full service marina.” He said this would increase revenue and create jobs for the marina, fulfilling the requirements of the Rural County Economic Development grant.
“The jobs that we anticipate creating are one or two right out of the gate,” he said.
Sublet said the city has negotiated a purchase price for the whole area including buildings, trucks, trailers and miscellaneous boatyard tools and equipment and staff is currently working on the terms of the purchase and sale agreement. He said environmental studies are still pending and more building repairs are needed.
The city is providing a $75,000 match in addition to the $675,000 grant for the purchase, for a total price of $750,000.
Rachel Rosen is a reporter for the Whidbey News-Times.