BELLINGHAM - North Bellingham residents will have a place to picnic starting this fall, as work is underway to create a meadow in a portion of Cordata Park.
Crews are clearing trees from about 3 acres of the park, doing some slight leveling of the ground and building a loop trail around the meadow, with work expected to be complete in early September if the weather is compliant, said Gina Austin, project engineer for the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department
"It's important for this neighborhood especially because this is their only neighborhood park," Austin said. "There's a lot of development up in this area and we're just trying to catch up with the park and trail facilities. It'll give people a place to go, a place to play. It'll be a nice neighborhood park that people can walk to and enjoy."
Cordata Neighborhood Association President Julianna Guy said watching the park come together has been wonderful.
"This is another giant step forward and we are very pleased it's happening," she said. "We look forward to finishing the park as soon as they can get access through the end of Horton (Road)."
Before this meadow was added, the park comprised a 3,000-foot trail winding through the woods, with a connector trail and a bridge over wetlands. When this phase of the park project is complete, there will be 1 to 2 acres of meadow with roughly mowed grass dotted with three picnic tables and three benches. Guy said these would be the first public picnic tables that she knew of for Bellingham residents in the area north of Interstate 5.
"Every community needs parks close by," Guy said. "Most people who live in apartment houses do not have beautiful backyards where they can enjoy a little bit of the outdoors. They need an outdoor living room. That's what parks give them."
The cost for this portion of the project is about $350,000. The city plans to develop the west end of West Horton Road to bring water, sewer, power and vehicle access to the park. The city also is working on selecting a consultant to design a trail that would connect the park to nearby Cordata Elementary School.