Bellingham celebrates new waterfront projects with groundbreaking ceremony
Mayor Kelli Linville fought wind and rain with a golden shovel at the groundbreaking for a new road, the first site of development in the city’s waterfront development plan.
Once the photos were snapped, the mayor directed the crowd to Chuckanut Brewery with a wave of her hand and an exclamation of, “If you wanna get warm, follow me!”
Inside the restaurant, there were boards and pamphlets explaining the city’s plan. In an effort to develop the waterfront, the City of Bellingham will be constructing two new roads between Roader Avenue and Cornwall Avenue. The new roads will connect Downtown with Waypoint Park, the centerpiece of the city’s waterfront development plan according to the City of Bellingham’s website. The roads are predicted to be completed by Nov. 15 of next year.
The waterfront development plan began its early stages in 2004. Before any construction could begin, the land had to be cleared of its mercury contamination.
In addition to Waypoint Park, the new development will draw businesses to the waterfront. All American Marine is set to build a new boat building facility, where they will continue to manufacture the largest lithium ion hybrid vessel on the market.
Port of Bellingham Public Affairs Administrator, Michael Hogan, said he hoped the new businesses will replace the waterfront jobs that were lost when Georgia Pacific, the pulp mill, shut down.
In designing the waterfront, an effort was made to preserve old landmarks. The acid ball from the old granary will be receiving special treatment.
Artists Kristin Becker and Jim Friesz of MUTUUS design will cover the acid ball in a reflective material. The sculpture will utilize high-reflex index airport beads (the lights used to make lanes on airport runways) as a coating for the structure.
Becker explained that the sculpture is meant to be a beacon or waypoint for the waterfront.
“We thought of the acid ball as a work of art in itself,” Friesz added.
The city hopes to draw more people to the water with a series of walking paths and bike trails.
“There’s a reason for everything in the project,” Mayor Linville said in her speech, “It’s to accommodate everyone’s interest on the waterfront.”