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Bellingham’s co-op getting started with parking lot expansion

RE Store workers Zack Zuniga, left, and Jake Bollinger strip the inside of the old Community Connections building on Forest Street in Bellingham on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. The building is being removed and the material recycled to make way for additional parking for the Community Food Co-op store.
RE Store workers Zack Zuniga, left, and Jake Bollinger strip the inside of the old Community Connections building on Forest Street in Bellingham on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. The building is being removed and the material recycled to make way for additional parking for the Community Food Co-op store. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

The Community Food Co-op is taking its next steps in the makeover of its downtown store, which may mean a few parking inconveniences.

This week workers from RE Store and Re-Use Consulting began deconstructing the former Community Connections building on the corner of East Chestnut and North Forest streets to make way for the parking lot expansion. Once that is complete, work will begin putting in retaining walls and extra parking spaces for the store, which is at 1220 N. Forest St.

The goal is to have the project completed at the end of June, said Jim Ashby, general manager of the co-op. Once done, the expansion will add more than 30 parking spaces to the existing lot.

Throughout the deconstruction, some portion of the co-op’s main parking lot will be open, but it will have a limited number of spaces available at various stages of the project, Ashby said. The fewest spaces will be available for the first two or three weeks of the project, but Ashby said there will be 17 spaces reserved for shoppers behind the new co-op bakery building, which is nearby on the other side of Holly Street.

For the former Connections building, the goal is to reuse or recycle more than 95 percent of the material, Ashby said. The new bike shelter, which is part of the project, will be built primarily from these materials. Other portions of the building will be available at the RE Store.

Plants from the community garden near the Connections building also have been finding new homes. Many of the plants have been moved to garden spaces near the bakery building.

Ashby said in order to reach their goal of maximum reuse, they need to find good homes for some of the materials recovered from the building. Inquiries about the material can be made by email to facilities@communityfood.coop or by checking out the store’s Facebook page.

Article corrected on Feb. 22 to reflect the fact Re-Use Consulting is also involved in deconstructing the building.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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