Committees formed to build Blaine’s tourist appeal

Published on Thu, Jun 27, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Committees formed to build Blaine’s tourist appeal

By Meg Olson

Blaine city staff didn’t have many action items to bring before city council, but did announce the birth of a bundle of new planning efforts.

City community and economic development director Terry Galvin asked for and got council approval for two committees to meet over the nest few months and fast-track the proposed Peace Portal Drive boardwalk and improvements to signage. “We intend to put together a committee of property and business owners,’ Galvin said. “These will be working groups on a number of issues we could use help on.”

The signage committee will work on the first component of a larger “streetscape plan” that will make Blaine’s streets more welcoming. Plans for three groups of signs to draw travelers into Blaine and make it easier to navigate the city’s streets will be developed working with a graphics designer: highway signs, gateway signs and urban directional signs.

Galvin said the city was working with state agencies and legislators to get signs on the freeway that say more about what is available to those who leave the freeway in Blaine. Those signs would coordinate with welcoming signs at freeway exits and directional signs to lead travelers on a scenic loop through the business core and back to the freeway. “We want to design a business loop that goes from exit 274 to exit 276,” Galvin said. “We start with signs on the freeway that tell people to take the scenic business loop through historic Blaine. Then we need a beautiful gateway that says welcome and signs directing people through and to the manufacturing zone, the schools.”

Signs will only be the first component of the streetscape plan to be tackled, Galvin said, followed by street tree standards, pedestrian and bike access and street architecture standards. “It’s about concepts, not construction standards,” Galvin said. The parks board has started work on the second component, forming a bike path and trails committee to take inventory of what the city has, and what it needs to develop.

The boardwalk committee will advance the city’s plans to build a boardwalk along the water-side of Peace Portal Drive, initially between the street end parks at G and H streets. Galvin said they have set a deadline of next summer to get construction on the project rolling. A coastal zone management grant and city matching funds have already paid for initial design, soil analysis and title research. Galvin said the committee would help identify other grant dollars for the project, work with property owners to acquire easements and guide further design steps.

Galvin said the push to get committees working on the two projects reflected the city’s commitment to get them rolling quickly. “Right now these are my highest priority projects,” Galvin said.

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