ELMA, Wash. - The Satsop Business Park is re-evaluating one of their investments at the Elma facility, and asking whether they should be throwing money down a tunnel. "We're very uncomfortable recommending that we invest more money in the facility if we don't have the customers to back it up." Manager Alissa Shay said that after hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent to convert the cooling tower water lines into a tunnel rescue training complex, customers have yet to line up. "We're definitely considering that, and that is why we took a step back when we realized that Seattle Fire and some of the other contractors wanted further improvements done to the facility we realized that we needed to strategize on whether or not we could make those improvements."
Last October, about 30 members of the Seattle Fire Department were the first to use the 12-foot diameter pipes to conduct tunnel "safety and rescue" training. The department said at the time that they planned to use the new training center about 30 days a year. Shay said SFD has been their only renter this year, for 1 week, netting about $10,000.
The Park plans to look at sponsorship possibilities, or even contracting the tunnels out to a private company. The tunnels, which are actually 12ft-diameter water pipes 27ft below ground, were excavated in 2012 with the training facility in mind.