PDA talking with consultant for Fort Worden business plan

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — The Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority has entered into negotiations with a consultant for help developing a business plan for the evolving facility.

The fee was listed as $25,000 in a request for qualifications published by the public development authority in May.

The only respondent was Pros Consulting of Indianapolis Ind., the firm that had developed the 2008 business plan on which the new plan is to be based.

“We received several calls from potential consultants, but given the scope of the work and the small amount of money involved, they all declined to move forward,” said Dave Robison, executive director of the public development authority, at a Wednesday meeting.

Members of the PDA board are scheduled to hold a conference call with a Pros representative today.

The Pros proposal says that the company has completed more than 800 planning and implementation projects as well as having finished “strategic planning and financial planning in five state park systems to assist agencies in transitioning to a more sustainable operating model.”

The public development authority is supervising the establishment of the lifelong learning center model at Fort Worden and has until Sept. 1 to submit a business plan to the Washington state Parks and Recreation Board.

A lifelong learning center is envisioned as part of the state park being developed into an academic campus that offers educational and recreational options.

Robison said that at least one public meeting will be scheduled to discuss the plan, probably in August.

Port Townsend resident Ted Shoulberg said that wasn’t enough.

“We need you to formulate a process of involvement and let the people know what you will be talking about and what will be discussed,” Shoulberg said.

Shoulberg said the money offered to the consultants “cannot be done with the money allocated.”

Robison agreed that the money didn’t correspond with consultant standards but said the public development authority does not have the ability to pay more.

In a financial statement submitted to the board, Robison reported that the public development authority will have assets of $946.45 after all projected expenses — including the consultant fee — are paid.

Robison said the public development authority staff needs to devote time to writing grant proposals and predicted there will be a “fundraising event” for the lifelong learning center in late July.

Much of the business plan will be devoted to the development of ways to bring people to the facility outside of tourist season.

Board member Scott Wilson, the editor and publisher of the Port Townsend-Jefferson County Leader, said that destination learning programs should be developed.

“There are a lot of programs that could be recruited or grown in Fort Worden that would also tie into unique strengths of local organizations and could focus on a sustainable future,” Wilson said.

“And we don’t have to make them come to Fort Worden to conduct these programs.”

Wilson said developing these programs will have a positive long-term effect.

“We can combine with businesses that are already active to provide these opportunities,” he said.

“This would also provide us with graduates of these programs who would stay in town and become embedded in the community.”


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 06. 2012 5:52PM
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