Port, Bellingham officials will meet to discuss waterfront plans

BELLINGHAM - City Council and Port of Bellingham commissioners will meet together at noon Thursday, May 3, to get an update on waterfront master planning and related waterfront development efforts.

The meeting, in council chambers at City Hall, 210 Lottie St., will air live on BTV10 and on the city website. It will also be available there for on-demand viewing afterwards.

Mayor Kelli Linville, Port Interim Executive Director Rob Fix and other city and port employees will describe proposed changes in the proposed timeline for redevelopment.

The port took over 137 acres of Georgia-Pacific Corp. industrial waterfront in 2005, when real estate development was still booming and both port and city officials were optimistic about the possibilities for turning the area into a new neighborhood with residences, offices, shops and light industry.

But since the boom went bust, port and city officials have scaled back some of those visions, acknowledging that it may take many decades to fully redevelop the G-P property and surrounding waterfront acreage.

The presentation also will describe projects and plans already completed and tasks still remaining before proposed planning documents can be submitted for legislative and public review later in 2012.

"The Port and the City are moving forward together on a proposal that emphasizes cleanup, public access and jobs," Linville said in a press release. "The May 3 meeting is a status report to the City Council, Port Commissioners, and the communities we serve. We are making important progress and we still have more to do. People need to know what is happening with this project, including our plans to present a complete, practical and achievable plan to the Bellingham Planning Commission in the coming months."

Port Commission President Scott Walker said he is pleased at the collaboration between the port and the city to move forward on waterfront redevelopment.

"Our agencies have made a great deal of progress in planning, site preparations and job creation," Walker said in the press release. "Two early action cleanups are completed, old structures removed, and other similar work is well under way."