Lane County awarded a $79,000 economic development grant last week to the Port of Siuslaw, covering the final costs required to complete the ice machine on the Old Town wharf by this spring.
Distributed from the Lane County Industrial Development Revolving Fund, the grant will pay for a metering device, auger and delivery components, as well as a catwalk to service the machine located between ICM and Mo’s restaurants.
“It’s for finishing the construction on the ice machine, getting it up and running,” said Bud Saulsgiver, chairman of the Siuslaw Fisherman’s Association (SFA) that has spearheaded the project.
The ice machine has been inactive since 2004 but was reassembled last year — a joint venture between the SFA and the port. Once finished, it can automatically produce up to 20 tons of ice per day for commercial fishermen.
Florence City Council last week submitted a letter in support of the SFA and port’s additional funding request for the project to the Lane County Board of Commissioners.
“(The ice machine) will bring commercial fishing boats back to Florence and Lane County, creating at least 12 new family wage jobs in the first year,” the letter stated. “It will also provide service for other businesses to locate on the wharf which will strengthen the regional economy of Florence and the surrounding area with increases in grocery, marine supply, retail, restaurant and lodging sales.”
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