Members of the surrounding Locust Beach community met to discuss its future on Wednesday, Oct. 7., after a project was announced to bring a parking lot and trailhead to the location.
The city project, which has already been approved with a budget of $550,000, will include paved parking, trash receptacles, restrooms, signs, a gathering spot by the trail, outdoor showers and security lighting.
The meeting was held so members of the community could voice their opinion on the expansion.
The beach has historically been a recreation spot for students to gather and relax, however their presence is not always appreciated.
Senior Isaiah Adams visits the beach often.
“It’s usually a lot of students and young people in their 20s or so,” Adams said.
Reports of littering, drinking, vandalism, large bonfires and late-night parties have often been the complaints of the Locust locals.
“I think people need to show a little more respect when they go down there,” senior Forrest Gale said. “If I was a homeowner and I go down there, and that’s like my backyard, I’d get pretty pissed.”
Chad Herman lives around the beach and attended the meeting held about the project.
“I think it’ll be a great improvement and allow ease of access to the beach,” Herman said.
Herman thinks the current parking situation blocks too much traffic for Locust Beach homeowners. While he didn’t specifically mention students, he had similar things to say about other problems at the beach including vandalism and littering
Gina Austin, the project engineer from the City of Bellingham in charge of this project, said managing the space is something that has been discussed at length during the planning phase of the project.
“It involves different agencies like the Whatcom County Public Works Department and the Sheriff’s Department,” Austin said.
Many members of the community said they believe that student involvement in the space would encourage a sense of ownership among students who frequent the beach. Some suggested possibly reaching out to the university to place student art, possibly on the overpass over the train, or in the designing of fences.
While Gale said he understands where homeowners in the area are coming from, it is a spot that he still enjoys with friends.
Homeowners around Locust Beach said they hope this parking lot will bring more order to the scenic beach.