A plan to build a new 20-acre park in the Cordata neighborhood is currently in motion.
The City of Bellingham is in the planning stages of creating a new park on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton roads. Construction is estimated to begin in May 2019.
The park is gaining its funding through the Greenways III Levy funds, park impact fees and state grants (if awarded). The 20-acre plot of land was purchased for a little more than $3.6 million back in March 2015.
The plot on Cordata will soon include all the park essentials: a playground, pavilions and multiple picnic areas. In addition, it is set to have a parkour course, an outdoor exercise area and a covered stage complete with open grass seating, according to the master plan by the Parks and Recreation Department.
Parks Development Manager Nicole Oliver said this park has been an effort of both the Parks and Recreation Department and the community.
“We really have come a long way with incorporating what is important for the community,” she said. “There’s going to be a spray park and the playground is going to be fully accessible for all skill levels and physical abilities while still being very exciting and interactive.”
A list of over 100 potential names was created by a community naming process by the Parks and Recreation Department for the currently nameless park. Residents submitted name suggestions by mail, email or in person and all were added to a list for consideration.
“We haven’t been able to settle on a clear winner,” Oliver said. “We’re going to try one more time with the park board in March.”
The suggested park names vary from serious to silly with suggestions like Wilder Ranch Park, to honor the fact that the park will be built on what was formerly the 1950s Wilder Ranch. Or, another popular suggestion: Parky McCordataface (accompanied by Parky McParkface and Swampy McSwampface).
Oliver said this park will offer amenities that not many other parks or recreation centers offer right now, including an area for parkour and a pump track for mountain biking.
For Western students, Oliver says that the new park on Cordata will allow for more bike access to and from Cordata Parkway.
“You’re going to be able to get there on a bike a lot more easily now that we’re going to be making bike lanes along Cordata Parkway that will link the community college up to the park and residential north of there. So it will be a nice north-south bike trip from town.”
According to Oliver, there has been a real interest by a surprising audience that resulted in a another first for the Parks and Recreation Department.
“A group that has really participated quite a bit in the park planning has been the pickleball community and the increased number of people who are really into pickleball,” Oliver said. “We will have four pickleball courts, it’s the first time we’ve built pickleball courts from scratch. We’re getting ahead of a new trend in recreation that we’re putting in the park.”
The pickleball community has made its presence known and the city is listening, Oliver said. The Parks and Recreation Department is planning on changing the tennis courts to pickleball courts at Cornwall Park as well.
A lot of work has gone into the planning and development of this park, Oliver said.
The Parks and Recreation Department is collaborating on this park with a landscape architect and an environmental consultant engineer.
“Its coming together real nicely, we’re very excited, so we hope to start building 2019,” Oliver said.
The park is planned to be built in phases and is currently projected to be complete by fall of next year.