With a great deal of attention focused on the Port of Bellingham these days, we feel next Tuesday’s (May 10) general meeting is particularly pertinent. Our speakers will be District Two Port Commissioner Michael McAuley and Sylvia Goodwin, Port of Bellingham Planning and Development Director.
A lifelong resident of Washington State, McAuley believes our port is well-positioned to become a leader in the Clean Tech Revolution by expanding our regional role in economic development. A green builder and community-spirited person, McAuley’s commitment to public service led him to seek a seat on the Port Commission.
Ms Goodwin has been in her port job since 2005. She is responsible for long-range planning for Port properties and coordinating with regulatory agencies regarding development regulations and permit issues. She holds a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planning. Before coming to the Port, she was planning manager for Whatcom County having served as Community and Develop0ment Director for the City of Blaine.
Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting will be at Birchwood Presbyterian Church, 400 Meadowbrook Ct.
With the acquisition of a park behind us, traffic has become our number one priority. It’s hardly a secret that West Bakerview Rd. is a particular problem. Everyone, including the City and the State Department of Transportation recognizes the severity of the situation with the economy dictating whether the likely band aid “solution” or something more substantial is utilized. Even the most logical approach, moving the northbound I-5 on-ramp to the east side, is very expensive. Meanwhile, the sheer passage of time means developers of hotels scheduled immediately east of I-5 are that much closer to building while Bellingham International Airport continues to grow. The City’s Transportation Commission will review a draft plan on May 10 and the City Council will hold a hearing May 23. Cordatans are urged to attend the meeting. We have learned from past experiences that a show of hands representing Bellingham’s fastest-growing Neighborhood impresses City Hall
Like so many challenges involving money, that state Department of Transportation focus on Meridian Street between Interstate 5 and Horton Rd. is full of good news, bad news. The good news is that the project aims to reduce congestion while improving safety. The bad news is that but $3.25 million is available in federal border-related infrastructure funds.
Right now, DOT potential plans are being formulated with recommendations realized in late summer. Construction won’t begin until 2013. Biggest factor in the project: the realization that Meridian had 693 crashes during five years ending last December. Your Neighborhood board is determined that the improvements include a turn signal going north at Horton Rd.
Cordata’s desire for a Northside library received a boost of sorts in the Bellingham Public Library report for the past year. Operating with a budget cut of $520,000, the library system (it includes branches in Fairhaven and Barkley Village) doubled the national figure of 10.5 circulation per capita.. Bellingham’s 20.98 number compared very favorably to a Washington State average of 12.14. The Bellingham Library also showed an additional 7,658 cards were issued last year bringing the total to 47,025. A key factor in the library’s success was the prominent role played by the Friends of Bellingham Public Library. In addition to 11,500 volunteered hours, the organization provided $90,000 of support money.
It is Cordata’s point that this area, by far Bellingham’s fastest growing neighborhood, needs the vital resources supplied by a library. Yes, there is a Whatcom Community College library “connection” (so described by the folks downtown) but it’s a place for pick-ups and drop-offs whose hours are limited by those of the college.
Not to put too fine a point on our challenges, but co-founder Julie Guy recently put together a list of subjects currently confronting us. In addition to our ongoing involvement with Cordata Community Gardens and the previously mentioned traffic concerns, the list is of interest not so much for its length (formidable, at that) but its breadth:
Parks, Trails, Open Spaces: Development of Cordata Park and Park Trails; How much money collected by Parks is available for North end parks?
Residential Developments: Tin Rock (Blair Murray) 52 acres across from SeaMar; M:KOV (Ted Mischaikov) 72 acres at end of Cordata; M:KOV (Mischaikov) lots in the Reserve being developed; Ron Jensen 65 acres surrounding June Rd. being developed.
Hotel Plans: Marriott on Northwest & Bakerview (no known date); La Quinta, next to Fred Meyer; to build in 2011; Developer Ron Bartlett (Bakerview Square) to build across from Fred Meyer in 2012
Community: Cross walk at SeaMar; July 16 Trails Walk and Barbecue; Disaster Prep; Library branch in the north end on next bond issue; North end resident on Library Board; Status of PUD for Cordata; Pedestrian Planning for Bellingham.
Deadline Dash….With college basketball dominating the sports scene, don’t forget the Bellingham Slam, the community’s entry (currently 5-0) in the International Basketball League. Finalists in last year’s title round, the Slam plays nearly all home games at Whatcom Pavilion and isn’t it nice to have a pro team in Cordata?....The purse as art is the hook at Whatcom Museum these days and you don’t have to pay to see it. “The World’s Largest Walkthrough Handbag” is the entrance to an exhibit (it runs to September 11) recognizing the ever-increasing size of the purse. Subdued excitement remarks are already being heard….Earthquake retrofitting of Birchwood Elementary, likely to take two years, means youngsters will be schooled at Cordata Elementary starting in September….Cordata is losing one of the stars of our Community Garden, Karie Solomon. She and her two children are moving to Utah. Her contributions and dazzling smile have been plentiful and she shall be missed….Because of a personal problem that will demand an increasing amount of time, I am forced to end both my duties on the board of directors of the Cordata Neighborhood Association and the editorship of The Insider. My decision was difficult to make largely because of my involvement in helping make Cordata an even better place to live. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenges, victories, and the many associations made during more than six years service and wish continued success to the organization. It is the desire of the board that The Insider be continued and that someone will step forward. I am more than willing to offer limited assistance to that volunteer.