Spring is in the air and Bellingham park users may notice construction happening in several locations. Construction is underway at Maritime Heritage Park on a new embankment slide and picnic area, Shuksan Meadows Park will get a new playground, new restrooms are coming to Boulevard Park, and Squalicum Creek Park will be getting a third ballfield and stormwater basin.
New slide at downtown’s Maritime Heritage Park
Design and construction of a play area that features a slide down the embankment is underway on the hillside below Whatcom Museum, part of Maritime Heritage Park.
“This amazing slide built on the hillside offers a new fun activity for downtown that will bring families and visitors from all over to this beautiful waterfront park,” said Nicole Oliver, Parks & Recreation Director. It is my most-anticipated project of the last four years,” she added.
The Maritime Heritage Park slide project is located downslope of the stairway connecting the park amphitheater and the Whatcom Museum. The new play structure includes a wide, 21-foot-long curving embankment slide with a 12-foot vertical drop, a stairway to get to the top again, and a second smaller, fully accessible slide and engaging play panels for younger children. Strider Construction Company of Bellingham is the general contractor, construction cost is $283,000 funded by park impact fees. Construction should be completed by this summer. The slide is the latest park improvement aimed to diversify the range of recreational opportunities in a park that was a municipal landfill site until 1957. More details are available in the report on recommendations for Maritime Heritage Park.
Other projects underway or starting soon
Shuksan Meadows Park: Construction will be completed this summer on a unique new play structure called a ‘crab pot’ at Shuksan Meadows Park as part of an overdue playground replacement. The ‘crab pot’ structure was preferred by children who participated in a playground preference exercise at Birchwood International Market during summer 2019. Construction will be done by J. Ritter Dirt & Asphalt of Everson for $95,400 funded by park impact fees. In addition, property at Shuksan Meadows Park will be transferred to the City from the Bellingham School District in exchange for a narrow stretch of park property adjacent to Sunnyland Elementary School.
Boulevard Park: Restroom facilities now under construction will replace those lost at the north end of the park following the 2019 utility reroute. The new restroom building, similar to the new one at Cordata Park, is located between the parking lot and Woods Coffee. The construction cost totals $631,000, and is funded by Real Estate Excise Taxes and Greenways levy funds. Tiger Construction of Everson is doing the work and completion is estimated in July 2021.
Squalicum Creek Park: Construction of Phase 4 improvements, including a new full-sized ballfield, at Squalicum Creek Park will begin soon. Faber Construction of Lynden was awarded the $1.2 million contract funded by a state grant, Greenways funds, and park impact fees. The project fulfills the goal of three ballfields as described in the park’s master plan and creates an additional multi-use field for other sports as well. A large stormwater basin is another component of the project. Set to begin in May 2021, this project will take several months to complete.