The competition that helped bring the Commercial Street Night Market to downtown this fall will be back again starting in January 2016.
Sustainable Connections will ask community members to come up with affordable, creative ways to improve the city in the second annual “placemaking” competition called “Kapow!”
While last year’s competition asked participants to focus on downtown, this year the focus will be on improving North State Street.
Competitors are encouraged to design inexpensive projects that reflect Bellingham’s unique community identity, bring people into spaces that aren’t used enough by making them more lively and enjoyable, and promote people’s health, happiness and well-being, according to Sustainable Connections’ contest announcement.
The projects can vary from events that last a few hours to permanent interactive art. Or they could be guerrilla gardening – putting unused patches of earth to use – or parklets, which take over parking spaces and convert them into park space.
The winners stand to gain some seed money to help get their projects started, and they will get help with the permitting and design process in conjunction with the city.
Applications will be available at SustainableConnections.org on Jan. 5, 2016, and will be due Feb. 15.
The applications will be sorted by Sustainable Connections and partner agencies the city of Bellingham, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Whatcom County Association of Realtors, and the Northwest American Institute of Architects.
A select group will move on to show off their ideas to a live audience on April 21, when winners will be selected.
During the 2015 competition, the night market took two of the three top prizes, and on Friday nights in September was able to bring music, vendors, food trucks and activities to the street in front of the downtown parking garage known as the Parkade.
Other ideas from that competition are still in the works and could go into place throughout downtown.