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This Bellingham park is known for the Acid Ball. But other features make it a winner

Take a look at Bellingham’s new Waypoint Park

After years of cleanup and preparation, Bellingham is ready to open its new downtown waterfront park, called Waypoint Park.
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After years of cleanup and preparation, Bellingham is ready to open its new downtown waterfront park, called Waypoint Park.

Waypoint Park on Bellingham’s waterfront has been named one of the best-restored beaches in the nation.

Florida-based American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, which said it advocates for healthy coastlines, released its list of the 2019 winners on Monday, May 20.

The revamped beach and park opened last summer after an environmental cleanup of what had been an industrial site for decades, mostly operated by Georgia-Pacific as a pulp mill.

“The beach adds a natural element to the once fully armored and sand-starved shorelines along Whatcom Waterway, which runs through the heart of the Bellingham, and significant investment has focused on improving and enhancing the habitat along the estuary’s edge,” the organization said in a release about this year’s winners.

The 2-acre Waypoint Park, 1145 Granary Ave., is named after an industrial acid ball that was transformed into an iconic public sculpture called “Waypoint,” but is more likely to be called the Acid Ball by the public.

The park is adjacent to the revitalized central pier and the renovated Granary Building, which has a number of new tenants — all designed to provide much-desired access to the waterfront for the public.

“This park provides treasured waterfront access, uncommon in Bellingham’s urban waterfront, at a former brownfield site,” the organization said in the release.

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Waypoint Park on Bellingham’s waterfront has been named one of the top restored beaches of 2019 by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association. City of Bellingham Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The association also lauded the non-motorized access for bicyclists and pedestrians as well as “paths compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, allowing the entire community to enjoy the waterfront.”

It also praised a design that accounted for projected sea level rise, provided better protection against storm damage, and added native plantings and habitat creation, including for forage fish.

Other beaches on the list of winners are:

Caminada Headland, Louisiana.

South Padre Island, Texas.

Duval County, Florida.

“This year’s winners spotlight a diverse selection of beaches, ranging from protecting coastal headlands in the face of numerous natural and man-made disasters to providing a splash of nature in the midst of an urban and industrial setting,” the organization wrote in its announcement of the winners.

More on the award is at asbpa.org.

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Emily Koch, left, and Tim Lankhaar walk together at Waypoint Park in Bellingham. Staff The Bellingham Herald file

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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