City, Port agree to explore concepts and funding for new event center

March 4, 2024 | News

The City of Anacortes and Port of Anacortes are planning to enter into an interlocal agreement to further explore concepts and costs for a new event center in Anacortes.

The City and Port’s goals are to provide a permanent event space for large tourist-oriented and community-based events that reflect Anacortes’ distinct characteristics and can host events long into the future. The site being considered for this event space is within the Port’s planned West Basin redevelopment, on the corner of Ninth Street and R Avenue.

“We envision a building with marine aesthetic, paying homage to and embracing the community’s rich maritime heritage,” said City of Anacortes Mayor Matt Miller. “Drawing inspiration from iconic landmarks in the area, we aim to create a space that is a reflection of our community, fostering connections and benefits for the entire community.”

Initial estimates for the first phase of this project total about $94,000, and per the interlocal agreement, the City and Port plan to split these costs 50/50. The City and Port expect to have a more developed concept to share with the community in late spring 2024. To learn more about and participate in this process, community members are invited to attend Port Commission and City Council meetings to hear updates and share public comments. Community members may also provide comments via mail or email to the City and Port.

The City and Port expect to use a variety of funding sources for the construction of this event space, including city lodging tax revenue. They also plan to seek grants and request funding from the state legislature.

The City and Port will hold a public joint meeting on Monday, March 25, 2024, to discuss the interlocal agreement. This meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 904 Sixth Street, Anacortes).

Background

 The Port of Anacortes has been discussing a future event center for Anacortes since 2016. In 2021, the Port announced the closure of the Transit Shed as an event venue and its permanent return to maritime industrial use. The Transit Shed was closed to events on Dec. 31, 2023, after a two-and-a-half-year sunset period.

The City and Port have engaged in discussions and collaborative efforts to address this significant community issue. Both remain committed to ongoing cooperation, striving to develop a solution that fulfills the demand for event space while bolstering our local economy and enhancing the vibrancy of life within our community.