On June 2, 2020, at 3:30 p.m., The Southwest Washington Agricultural Business Park broke ground in Tenino, Washington.
The Southwest Washington Agricultural Business Park will establish a value-added food manufacturing, processing, storage, and packaging facility within the City of Tenino on a 13-acre, city-owned parcel. It will also house a business center to provide regional agricultural business technical support services and become an agri-tourism destination, promoted along with other regional attractions and as part of the Thurston County Bountiful Byway. Future phases of the Park will include research and educational components.
The groundbreaking on the water and sewer extension to the park site was made possible by a Washington State Legislature capital budget appropriation of $600,000. The legislature also approved an additional $1.5 Million, which will go towards the Park’s first building. Funding was also made possible for the Park’s planning efforts by the Port of Olympia and USDA Rural Development.
The City of Tenino owns the site and is leasing it to the Thurston Economic Development Council for $10 per year. “The EDC has invested significant effort and leadership in regional agriculture development over the last 4-and-a-half years,” said Aslan Meade, Thurston EDC’s Director of Strategic Alliances and the park project manager. “One of the clearest COVID-19 lessons we are learning is how such a crisis can challenge our food supply chain. The Agricultural Park is just one of the ways we are working to build a more resilient regional food supply chain, focusing on local value-added production. We need to be growing and processing more local food for distribution to the people in our own region.”
“This wasn’t the big groundbreaking ceremony we hoped for,” said Meade, “But we know that the community is here with us today — in spirit —as we take this step forward toward a more resilient regional food supply chain.”
Photo caption: Artist rendering of Park’s first building courtesy of SCJ Alliance.