Aroundthe City

Published on Thu, Jun 30, 2005
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Around the City

Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic is inviting the public to take a look at a proposed future for the city’s airport.

“The airport advisory committee has finished their work,” he said. The draft master plan they have prepared will be unveiled at a July 18 meeting at Blaine city hall, first to council members at a 5:15 p.m. work session and then at a 7 p.m. public meeting. “It will basically show them what future expansion and improvement plans are,” Tomsic said.

The plan’s next stop will be with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Tomsic said, which will review and potentially approve the plan. “That may take several months,” he added. Following FAA approval city council will consider approving the plan. If it is adopted by both the FAA and the city the master plan becomes official and “We are eligible to begin implementing the plan and applying for federal funds to do that,” Tomsic said.

When Marine Drive is torn up to build sewer overflow tanks underneath the road-bed next summer, it will be reborn as a gently winding road that both separates and joins the park and the marina.
“We’ve added some curvature and made the center part of the curves a pedestrian landing that corresponds with the gatehouses,” Blaine public works director Steve Banham told city council members at their June 27 meeting. The paths in Blaine Marine Park will be realigned to line up with the pedestrian landings and raised crosswalks, and the new road will add a sidewalk on the marina side.

Banham said the city had been working with the Port of Bellingham, hoping to get bids out this winter on the section of road between the old sewer tank and the railroad tracks, aiming for construction in 2006. The new road plans also include parallel parking for birdwatchers near the rail crossing, a left turn lane for Milhollin Avenue, and grass plantings to treat stormwater runoff before it hits the harbor. “We’ve tried to keep the pavement width fairly narrow here given the use,” Banham said.

City manager Gary Tomsic said the two ends of Marine Drive were not in current plans but were also being redesigned. “You haven’t seen either end of the road here but that doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking about it,” he said.

A concurrent planning process with the Port of Bellingham now underway is looking at an entrance to the area for the Peace Portal Drive end, and better pedestrian facilities for the municipal pier end, Tomsic said.

“There has been some discussion whether the road should be all pedestrian from that point forward,” he said, suggesting that vehicles be stopped at a parking or turnaround area near the Old Harbor Café building.

In response to a request from local dentist Patrick Rooney, Banham promised that people who use the Marine Drive area would be kept informed as the $1.9 million reconstruction project gets underway so access during construction is assured.