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This part of Bellingham will get a ‘new destination for recreation and relaxation’

Construction is underway at what will soon be Cordata Park

The $6.2 million construction for the first phase of Cordata Park started on May 20, 2019. The park will include a spray park, playground, exercise stations and bike pump track. The city plans to open the park in Bellingham, Wash., in spring 2020.
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The $6.2 million construction for the first phase of Cordata Park started on May 20, 2019. The park will include a spray park, playground, exercise stations and bike pump track. The city plans to open the park in Bellingham, Wash., in spring 2020.

By next spring, the north end of Bellingham will have a long-awaited park.

The city of Bellingham began building the first part of Cordata Park on May 20. The $6.2 million project will focus on what the city calls the “north activity node.”

It will include a spray park, a children’s playground for different ages and abilities, adult exercise stations, parkour area, a paved bicycle pump track for all ages, picnic shelter, restrooms, 79 parking spaces, looped trail, metal sculptures and an open playfield.

Area residents are excited, 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 entire north end is aware and very delighted that this construction has actually started,” Guy told The Bellingham Herald.

The 25-acre park is in the Cordata Neighborhood, on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton roads.

The spray park will be the third in the city. But some of Cordata Park’s other features will be firsts.

“The park will provide a nearby, large-scale recreation experience. It will include the first paved pump track, parkour course and adult recreation equipment in the city,” said Nicole Oliver, development manager for the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department.

Cordata Park is expected to draw people from outside the neighborhood as well, and provide parkland for a fast-growing part of the city.

“This large, regional park will finally bring northern Bellingham residents a new destination for recreation and relaxation,” said Leslie Bryson, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, in a release.

The Cordata Neighborhood does have a public park already — one that was recently renamed Julianna Park in recognition of Guy’s tenacity and contributions — on the 800 block of Horton Road. It has a trail but further development has been on hold pending the extension of Horton Road.

So the area’s families have turned their hopes to Cordata Park.

“It’s very much a family-oriented park,” Guy said. “We need amenities for children and families.”

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% for the arts program.

Strider Construction Co. is the general contractor.

This project will affect traffic on Cordata Parkway, Oliver said.

“Cordata Parkway is also going to be modified to one lane in each direction, with a full-sized bike lane and lighted pedestrian crossings as part of the park construction,” she explained.

This part of the park’s development is expected to be done by spring 2020.

The design for the second part of its development is planned for next year and is expected to include pickleball courts, a basketball court, covered stage, park pavilion and more parking.

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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