Westport Winery co-owner Kim Roberts has been appointed to the state Department of Commerce’s Community Economic Revitalization Board. She will take her oath of office this week in preparation for serving a three-year term.
The board was created in 1982 “to respond to local economic development in Washington communities,” according to Commerce. It provides funding to local governments and tribes for infrastructure to support private business growth and expansion through eligible projects like water, public buildings, telecommunications and port facilities.
Between 2017 and 2019, the board awarded just shy of $20 million to 38 projects across the state — 18 port projects, 12 city, four “special purpose,” three county and one tribal. Commerce estimates this investment has spurred just under $190 million in private investment, and created or retained more than 2,600 jobs.
Roberts said she was encouraged to seek this position by Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson.
“I was fortunate to have his recommendation, along with that of Grays Harbor County Commissioner Vickie Raines and former Director of Fish and Wildlife Phil Anderson,” she said.
By statute, the 20-member board “represents a variety of interests and all geographic regions of the state … charged with funding public infrastructure to encourage economic growth for new business development to create jobs.”
Roberts’ appointment is as a small business owner west of Puget Sound. State Reps. Mike Chapman, a Democrat from Port Angeles, and Jim Walsh, a Republican from Aberdeen, are also on the board, representing their political caucuses in the House of Representatives.
“My background as an architect, developer, and seat-of-the-pants entrepreneur give me a sound foundation to represent those in our state with similar experience and civic interests,” Roberts said. “I have always had a passion for the economic and environmental health of coastal communities. It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”
Roberts and her family operate Westport Winery Garden Resort, Ocean’s Daughter Distillery, the Sea Glass Grill, and are the primary benefactors of the International Mermaid Museum. Roberts has served as a Washington State Wine Commissioner and has been on the board of Greater Grays Harbor, The Ocean Recreation Council of Hawaii, Maui Commercial Boaters and Ocean Affiliated Transportation Association, the Westport Charter Association, and the Washington State Charter Association.
The International Mermaid Museum will open on International Mermaid Day, March 29, 2021. The museum’s mission is to teach ocean ecology from seashore to sea floor immersed in mermaid mythology uniting oceanic cultures, said Roberts.