GRANDVIEW - The Yakima Valley Grape and Wine Education Center in Grandview is another step closer to completion, thanks to monies from the Supporting Investment in Economic Diversity (SIED) Fund.
Tuesday morning, Yakima County commissioners approved an SIED agreement with the Port of Grandview for work on the education center, which is set to be built in the old-Safeway building sitting at the corner of Wine Country and Grandridge roads in Grandview.
The agreement approved by the commissioners provides the Port of Grandview with a $165,000 loan from the SIED fund, as well as a $165,000 grant from the fund. Colleen Byam, president of the Port of Grandview, explained that the loan will have to be utilized before the grant funds are made available.
Byam said when Yakima Valley Community College purchased the old-Safeway building several months ago, the Port decided to show its support of the project by applying for the SIED funds. She explained that only cities and port districts can apply for SIED money.
Byam said one of the reasons the Port of Grandview stepped forward to help the jump start the project is because they see the grape and wine education center also serving as a possible business incubator. She explained that the college plans to offer students hands-on experience at the center, including everything from fermenting the wine to bottling and selling it. She noted that this could also serve as a nice incubator, offering possible wine makers a place to utilize equipment they couldn't afford to purchase on their own.
Byam said regardless, the education center should prove to be a good training ground for students and should also mean more local residents going into the wine industry.
. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org