Comment this week on Chuckanut Community Forest Park District's mission

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 24, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - Commissioners of the Chuckanut Community Forest Park District want to hear from the public this week about what they think the mission should be for the new park district.

Earlier this year, southwest Bellingham voters created the district and approved taxing property owners to help pay for the city's purchase of Chuckanut Ridge.

People can comment during the park district's public hearing Thursday, June 27, at Fairhaven Library. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Fireplace Room of the library, 1117 12th St.

"This is a chance for the public to speak up before we go ahead," park district commissioner Vince Biciunas said.

When voters created the district Feb. 12, they also elected five commissioners to raise property taxes within the district to repay the $3.2 million loan from the city Greenways endowment fund. That money helped pay the $8.2 million price tag for the city's purchase of the 82-acre property.

The new levy will go into effect in 2014.

Also on the agenda: Potential terms for the agreement with the city of Bellingham regarding the loan repayment for what also has been referred to as the 100-Acre Wood, Fairhaven Highlands and Chuckanut Community Forest.

The district and the city are still working on that agreement, but the "talking points" for it were discussed June 6 during a City Council committee meeting. That outline follows what the city and district proponents discussed in the lead-up to the election, primarily that the district existed to repay the $3.2 million and that the city would retain control of the property and develop it for parks, trails and recreation purposes.

People who want more details on the outline of the issues can go online to chuckanutcommunityforest.com, which is the website for the steering committee that launched the effort to create the park. The Chuckanut Community Forest Park District hasn't had a chance to create its own website.

Speakers at the Thursday meeting will have three minutes. Written comments may be submitted at the meeting; via mail to P.O. Box 4283, Bellingham, WA 98227; or by email to Vince Biciunas at vbici.ccfpd@gmail.com.

June 27 is the deadline for written comments.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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