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The Port of Benton located the site for the Clore Center and has a long-term lease with the center's board.

The Port of Benton located the site for the Clore Center and has a long-term lease with the center’s board.

Since the founding directors kicked off a fundraising ­campaign for the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in 2003, the project has seen three executive directors, asked for some $3.5 million in state and federal money, been granted $2 million of that amount, and staged a groundbreaking ­ceremony, only to pull back and start over with a new plan.

Those early missteps might have slowed the project, but they also helped move it onto a better path, according to Deb Heintz, economic development director for the city of Prosser and second vice president of the Clore Center board.

“The board has a huge amount of expertise right now,” said Heintz. “We have the right mix of industry people on this board, people who own wineries and food-processing companies, and I think we’ve generated enough interest within the industry for more volunteerism.”

The board includes representatives from the wine industry, tree fruit industry, Washington State University, Benton County and Prosser economic development groups, and the Washington Wine Commission. Marv Kinney, director of special ­projects for the Port of Benton, serves as a loaned executive, and Kathy Corliss is the director of administration. The group will draw heavily on their cumulative business savvy as they put together a financial plan for the Clore Center and build the necessary funds to get the project off the ground.

Timeline

2003
 Port of Benton purchases land for the center
 Benton County dedicates $100,000 for infrastructure
2004
Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Doc Hastings secure $530,000 in federal funds
2005
State of Washington grants $2.25 million for capital ­facilities
2006
Capital campaign reaches $4.4 million, including money from state and federal governments, and private ­donations
2009
 Clore Center awaits decision on a request for $2.5 million from the Federal Economic Development ­Administration
Plans progress to break ground on infrastructure in ­summer 2009, and to begin construction in 2010