City unveils the next phase of waterfront development
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Waypoint Park is getting an upgrade.
Bellingham’s newest park on the central waterfront will receive an extended trail section and seating areas as part of the city’s latest development plan. When complete, the trail will connect Roeder to Laurel Avenue, with the Acid Ball sculpture as the centerpiece to the trail.
Other planned additions include restrooms, plantings along the softened shoreline, more public art, and outdoor recreational activities. The city released a report on this second phase at an online open house in April.
“Coordination with other agencies and the adjoining property owners is underway to ensure a seamless and integrated design with private development and other public spaces and plazas connecting to the park,” Bellingham Parks Director Nicole Oliver noted.
The two-acre park opened in 2018 following an environmental cleanup of what had been the industrial site of the former Georgia-Pacific pulp mill. In 2019, the park was twice recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers for its innovative design and re-use of industrial land.
In 2016, the city sought proposals for artistic enhancements to the industrial artifact known as the Acid Ball to create the highly-visible centerpiece for the waterfront district. Twenty-six proposals were submitted.
“One of the most fascinating aspects of the waterfront district is its postindustrial history,” noted Chris Jones, a principal and landscape architect with Groundswell Studio. “These industrial artifacts are emblematic of the site’s rich history and a great means for interpretation. A great example of how these artifacts can successfully be incorporated in a public open space can be seen at Waypoint Park phase one with the incorporation of the iconic Acid Ball.
“This site is also unique because of its onsite redevelopment efforts and the interplay between public and semi-public spaces,” Jones said. “Our planning efforts consider how planning efforts can activate, inform and support the vitality of the district.
“We want to build on this framework of pedestrian connectivity and walkability.”
The Port of Bellingham and the City of Bellingham are partners in the overall master planning and redevelopment of the overall waterfront site. The Port of Bellingham acquired the property from the Georgia-Pacific Company as part of a cleanup agreement and settlement.
The first phase of construction, which included public access improvements to Central Pier, began in January 2017 and was completed by December of that year. Design and permitting for the current phase will continue through 2021. Construction is expected to start in late 2022 or in 2023, according to park planners. The design team hopes to work with the port to consider future connections to the former G-P wharf.
An online presentation showing the proposed design for this second phase of development is available at http://www.engagebellingham.org/waypoint. The public is invited to comment.
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