City buys nearly 21 acres for new park in Cordata Neighborhood

The Bellingham City Council voted on Monday, March 23, 2015 to acquire 21 acres for a new community park in the Cordata Neighborhood.
The Bellingham City Council voted on Monday, March 23, 2015 to acquire 21 acres for a new community park in the Cordata Neighborhood. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The city is buying nearly 21 acres off Cordata Parkway for a little over $3.6 million and will develop it as a new park in the Cordata Neighborhood.

The City Council unanimously approved the purchase at its meeting Monday, March 23.

Cordata Investments sold one parcel totaling 17.5 acres, while Darcy Investors sold the second one totaling 3.2 acres.

The acres are on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton roads. The site was part of the 1950s Wilder Ranch at the headwaters of Beaver Creek.

Money from voter-approved Greenways III levy is paying for the undeveloped land, which surrounds a four-acre wetland owned by the Cordata Business Park Association.

The park is much-desired in north Bellingham, which has undergone significant growth in the past 20 years.

The city’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan recommends additional parks, open space and trails in this part of Bellingham. Cordata Neighborhood has nearly 5,000 residents, but no developed public park yet.

The existing Cordata Park has one trail that will be extended south to Cordata Elementary School, a meadow and a few picnic tables and benches. It is envisioned as a smaller community park because just five or six acres is a developable park area, according to Leslie Bryson, the parks department’s design development manager.

Not much else can be built there until Horton Road is extended west into the park to serve as the primary access.

On Monday, City Councilman Jack Weiss and others said this acquisition will allow the city to develop a park, which residents in that part of Bellingham have long wanted and needed.

“It is in a location off Cordata Parkway that is going to be very easy to develop. It will have vehicle access. It will have flat lands. It will not have as many environmental restrictions to it. It will have real recreational opportunities as well as open space and trails,” he said. “It’s a real gift to the north side.”

City Councilman Michael Lilliquist also was pleased with the parkland acquisition for north Bellingham.

“We are actually fulfilling the promise of the Greenways (levy),” he said.

The parks department will work with residents to develop a master plan, which likely will include community recreation options such as playground and picnic areas, trails and open areas, along with preserved and enhanced wetland features.

“It’s something we want to engage the community in,” Bryson said.

Trails will link the site with Cordata Elementary School, Whatcom Community College and Cordata Park on West Horton Road.

The city could set aside money for the master plan in 2016 for the new green space, which will be developed as a larger, community park.

Learn more by going online to cob.org. The acquisition is being called Cordata Community Park for now.

Related stories from Bellingham Herald