Former Lewiston composting site could be fertile ground for business, Lewiston Tribune, March 10, 2016



Vacant ground where EKO Compost used to be could be converted to a business incubator campus.

Port of Lewiston commissioners got their first look Wednesday at architectural plans for the project that show four rectangular buildings of varying sizes, with multiple 1,500-square-foot spaces. Each slot could be a home for a venture too early in its development to afford real estate of its own.

Port Manager David Doeringsfeld said one 9,000-square-foot structure would cost about $780,000. The expenditure may or may not be part of the port’s next annual budget.

“It’s too late to start planning when someone is knocking on your door,” Port President Mike Thomason said.

The discussion took place less than two weeks after EKO vacated the property, and a month after its port lease expired. The delay created a number of issues that appear to be resolved.

EKO is not presently facing any penalties after being notified by public health officials about its failure to remove compost and other items from the site in a specified time frame. Mike Camin, engineering manager for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, said the company has completed the required process for closure – which was the primary objective.

The business paid the port for February, the extra month it was on the site. Doeringsfeld said the port is hiring a local firm to take soil samples just to be sure the ground is clean.

It’s unlikely the study will find anything, but he said the port wants to be sure since officials didn’t do any such tests during the more than 20 years EKO was a tenant.

In other business Wednesday:

– Port commissioners learned it will cost roughly $60,000 to divide a 7,500-square-foot space in its existing business incubator into two sections, one with 4,500 square feet and another with 3,000 square feet. The price tag includes a rolling overhead door so a tenant could start in one part and grow into the other as part of an expansion. The project also includes a division of utilities and a new bathroom. The remaining 4,500 square feet in the incubator is occupied by Clearwater Canyon Cellars and World Wide Abrasives.

– Commissioners heard about American Alloy’s plans to start moving prefabricated buildings being assembled at the port. The largest is expected to be put on a barge in mid-April and the others will follow over a 60-day time frame. Submarines will be decommissioned inside the buildings, which will be taken to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash.

At 100,000 pounds, 300,000 pounds more than originally planned, the biggest will put the port’s crane at its outer limits. The port is considering purchasing $6,500 in equipment so it can accurately weigh cargo in cooperation with American Alloy, a Spokane Valley, Wash, company. The port believes the new equipment will be useful if American Alloy or other customers take part in other similar projects at the port.

– The port announced the sale of 3 acres of land in the Business and Technology Park near Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. The port netted $566,000 in the deal. The site will be used by Advanced Health Care, which will open an inpatient physical therapy center in a building that will be constructed, possibly with space for 30 beds. The center will be a place where patients can take part in short-term rehabilitation after shoulder, hip or knee replacements.

Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.