The City of Bellingham expects to receive a $500,000 state grant to fund repairs and improvements to the shoreline at Boulevard Park designed to increase public access, enhance habitat, repair sections damaged by erosion, and protect the shoreline from storm surges and sea level rise.
A grant application for these improvements, submitted by the City earlier this year, ranked first in a preliminary list of projects selected for funding from the Aquatic Land Enhancement Account, announced recently by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The City expects to receive $500,000 from the state grant, pending state budget approval.
“This is great news for a project that has been needed for a long time,” Nicole Oliver, Parks & Recreation Department director, said. “These critical improvements are expected to increase shoreline access, improve habitat, repair damage and prevent further erosion at one of Bellingham’s most popular waterfront destinations.”
Recent erosion along a portion of the shoreline at Boulevard Park prompted staff to install hazard fencing and signage while working on a design solution to limit damage. The area is located south of the coffee shop and extends to the overwater walkway known as the Pattle Point Trestle.
Protection measures at this stretch of shoreline were previously designed and permitted in 2012. The work was not completed at that time due budget constraints.
The 2012 design has since been improved to include enhanced habitat, beach access and shoreline plants. The enhanced design includes modifications to reflect changes in federal permitting requirements, incorporate climate resiliency and provide additional habitat creation. Improvements include converting some of the upland lawn area to a sand and gravel beach, as well as enhanced public access points to the newly created beach areas. The project is estimated to cost just over $1 million to complete.
This project will result in improved habitat, enhanced public access, and protection of the shoreline from storm surges and sea level rise. Construction may begin in 2023 or 2024, pending permit approvals.