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New Bellingham park will have a spray park, playground, exercise stations and parkour

Bellingham’s Cordata neighborhood is growing up in a hurry

The Cordata area in Bellingham, Washington's north end is one of the city's fastest growing residential neighborhoods.
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The Cordata area in Bellingham, Washington's north end is one of the city's fastest growing residential neighborhoods.

A $6.2 million project to build the first part of Cordata Park is set to start in May — fulfilling a long-held desire for residents of a fast-growing part of the city.

“I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s been a long time coming,” said Julianna Guy, who formed a committee in summer 2005 to protest the lack of parks in her neighborhood soon after moving to Cordata.

“The park will serve a real need,” Guy told The Bellingham Herald.

The park is 25 acres on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton roads.

The first phase of construction includes a spray park, a children’s playground, adult exercise stations, parkour, bike pump track for all ages, picnic shelter, restrooms, 79 parking spaces, looped trail and metal sculptures.

The park will have “great features for all ages in that area and, really, for the whole community,” Leslie Bryson, director for the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department, said to The Bellingham Herald.

On hot days, the spray park in Cordata will give children a third place in the city to play in and cool off.

Cordata Park.JPG
A $6.2 million project to build the first part of Cordata Park is set to begin in May 2019. The park is 25 acres on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton roads in Bellingham, Wash. Staff The Bellingham Herald file

“The two spray parks we have are very, very popular,” Bryson said.

The exercise equipment includes a chest press, knee lift and captain’s chair.

The playground will include a Saddle Spinner, musical instruments, accessible swing zone for kids who have disabilities or special needs and two climbers — one for ages 2 to 5 and one for older kids up to age 12.

It is expected to open early next year.

“It’s a big project,” Bryson said.

Park plans address growth of north Bellingham

The first phase also will require wetland mitigation, but a bid for that project will go out later this year, parks officials said.

The voter-approved Greenways IV levy, as well as park impact fees, will pay for the construction. Money for the artwork will come from the city’s 1 percent for the arts program.

In March 2015, the city bought nearly 21 acres for a little more than $3.6 million to develop into what has officially been named Cordata Park. That acquisition didn’t include four acres of wetland that was recently deeded to the city.

The site was part of the 1950s Wilder Ranch.

North Bellingham 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 6,192 residents and Meridian Neighborhood has 3,840 residents, according to city records, but the area has no fully developed public park.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have a public park.

One exists and, until the recent name change, had been called Cordata Park.

Since renamed Julianna Park — in recognition of Guy’s tenacity and contributions — it has trails, a meadow and a few picnic tables and benches.

Roughly 20 acres with surrounding open space, its full development has been held up because not much else could built there until Horton Road was extended west into the park to serve as the primary access, city of Bellingham officials have said.

That extension is expected to happen, possibly next year. When it does, the city will put in parking for Julianna Park. But how it will be developed after that will have to be reconsidered now that the city is moving forward with Cordata Park, according to Bryson.

Bellingham-area Strider Construction is building the first phase of Cordata Park.

“It’s going to be quite a park,” Ralph Myers, president of the Cordata Neighborhood Association, told The Bellingham Herald. “It means a lot. We now will have, really, a park like we’ve wanted for many, many years.”

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.
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