Boardwalk plans moving forward, contract signed

Published on Thu, May 1, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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Boardwalk plans moving forward, contract signed

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

The city of Blaine is one step closer to a boardwalk, following city council�s unanimous decision on Monday night to allow city manager Gary Tomsic to sign a pre-construction contract.

The contract, which calls for a first phase sum of $65,000, will be signed with Anvil Corporation, a company based in Bellingham, and states that Anvil will provide schematic design, design development and other professional services.

In June of 2002, the city put out a request for qualification (RFQ) requesting statements of qualifications from architects and structural engineers to provide services for the boardwalk. The city then interviewed the eligible firms that responded, and determined that Geiger Engineering was the most qualified. However after several months of negotiations, the city was unable to reach an agreement with the company, and terminated further negotiations. The second most qualified firm, Anvil, was then contacted by the city and within several weeks, both sides had come to an agreement.

�I feel very confident this particular firm will do a good job,� said Terry Galvin, Blaine�s community development director. �We�re behind schedule already, and they�ve stepped right in.�

The contract, Galvin said, is much more than the contract with Geiger was to have cost. However, Anvil is contracted to do more work.

Boardwalk between G,H streets
According to the project plan, the boardwalk will be built just west of the commercial buildings on the west side of Peace Portal drive between G and H streets, and will look out over the Blaine Marina and Semiahmoo Bay. The boardwalk will be a curved, 12-foot wide structure standing street-level and accessed by way of the two existing street ends. Two plaza areas will be created at the ends of the boardwalk and a gazebo will be built on G Street.

Pre-construction design will take a total of 12 weeks to establish, Galvin said, meaning a start date for construction could be in late summer. �My hope is by the end of September, they can actually begin doing work on the two road ends. Then we�ll probably have to slow down for the winter and then come spring, we�ll be in full construction.�

Following the construction of the basic boardwalk elements, the city will then work on an H Street pedestrian overpass that crosses over the Burlington Northern right of way and down to the marina parking area, as well as an off-street parking under the boardwalk.

�The construction won�t take that long. By the following September it should be complete,� he said, noting the project will take a total of one year to construct. Eventually, Galvin said, the boardwalk will loop to Marine Park, Cain�s wharf and other areas off of Marine Drive. �It will be a total loop of the area, and it will connect businesses and people in downtown Blaine along the waterfront.�

Tax, grants funding sources
The boardwalk is estimated to have a total cost of $1.5 million, and much of that will be covered by the hotel/motel tax and grants.

�It�s going to require a dedication of those funds, in addition to grants to cover the costs,� he said.

Dave Christianson, the designer, will have more detailed schematics done soon, Galvin said, and then the city will apply for grants using those illustrations. So far the city has received two grants.

Boardwalk to attract business
Once the boardwalk is constructed, city officials believe the downtown economy will thrive.

�It�s not just a hope, it�s a reality. We have attracted two or three investors into this area as a result of just the prospect of having a boardwalk,� Galvin said.

The city started planning the boardwalk several years ago, and have organized a boardwalk committee, comprised of city officials, business owners and interested residents, to help with the process and offer their thoughts and ideas. It has been a main idea of the committee that a boardwalk will bring businesses downtown and also attract tourists.

�It will act as a gravitational pull for commercial activity and it�s going to pull in businesses. There is going to be, I believe, an irresistible urge for commercial establishments, particularly dining and pubs, to locate right in front of the boardwalk,� Galvin said. �When you have a couple of eateries, and a couple of shops and you�ve got a boardwalk, you�ve got a place for a center. Right now we�ve got a town without any attractions.�

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