Around the City

Published on Thu, Jan 25, 2007
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Around the City

City unveils pedestrian overpass

In a regular meeting of the Blaine City Council Monday, Blaine Public Works director Steve Banham unveiled a computer-generated rendition of a planned pedestrian overpass, which will connect to the existing H Street plaza and at the park area at the end of Milhollin Drive.

The east section of the overpass is an open walkway extending out of the plaza to a covered viewing tower with a switchback staircase that leads down to a lower-level walkway. Blaine community development director Terry Galvin said the lower walkway meanders through the tidelands to provide views of wildlife and other scenery. He also said he thinks the development will create a central attraction that will draw people downtown.

“This is really going to create a central outdoor gravitational area,” Galvin said. “It’s going to be really cool.”

The overpass is the planned phase three of the city’s boardwalk project, which includes a connecting walkway between the current street-end plazas at G and H streets.

Banham said the visual rendition will also help the Port and the city to garner more funding options.

Number of newly-constructed living units down from 2005

A year-end development report by the Blaine planning department found that the number of living units approved by the city of Blaine has decreased significantly over the last year.

In Monday’s regular meeting of the Blaine City Council, Blaine building inspector Ed Yurgalevicz said the number of actual living units in the city has decreased by 20 percent since 2005.

“If you look at it the number of actual number of living units which were approved, they are 20 percent less than last year,” he said.
The city of Blaine doesn’t compare the number of applications filed or the number of permits granted because the number of actual living units can vary greatly, he said.

“If you look at the number of applications, however, the numbers really aren’t much different.”

Some of the newly approved developments from January to December of 2006 include the 40-condominium Prestwick Woods development in Semiahmoo, the 15-unit 3 Knots at Land’s End development on Peace Portal Drive, the 22-unit Florence Estates on Boblett Street, and the 26-unit Brickyard Cottages development on Peace Portal Drive.
Yurgalevicz said the majority of the growth is centralized in central and west Blaine (near Semiahmoo). Of those approved living units, 66 are condominium units, one rental units and 29 single family residences.

Mayor lambasted at meeting

Blaine Mayor Mike Myers was reprimanded by his fellow council members Monday for comments he made during a presentation at a Port of Bellingham commissioner’s meeting last week.

During a regular meeting of the Port of Bellingham on January 16, Myers, along with Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic, asked port commissioners to propose alternative uses to the Blaine airport. Citing the port's record of economic development, Blaine city council had agreed back in December to approach the port to ask for development ideas or proposals.

Myers, however, told port commissioners that he would only favor the port’s involvement if they were to keep the airport open.

Liebert accused Myers of misrepresenting the city and the council's decision.

“If the mayor was just speaking on his own behalf, that would be one thing, but representing the city and misleading the port is another thing,” he said. “I found that quite disturbing.”

Council members Bonnie Onyon and Jason Overstreet agreed.
Myers argued that it no longer mattered because the port decided not to participate but Liebert said he missed the point.

“Who directed you to go ahead and do that? If you’re going to represent the city, you have to represent the city council’s view and not your own,” he said. “You don’t have the right to impose the views you have as your own as those of the council's.”

Myers said he apologized for his remarks and would take full responsibility for what he said.

Council approves emergency repairs to city hall

The Blaine City Hall is set to receive needed repairs after an apparent failed gutter and awning on the building’s south-facing exterior has caused water damage and mold growth inside.

In a regular meeting of the Blaine city council, council members voted 6-0 to approve emergency repairs to be paid out of the city’s special budget for city hall improvements.

Those repairs will include the removal of the metal awning at the front of the building and the replacement of the window in the city clerk’s office, and the relocation of the current bus stop to a second H Street location near Veteran’s Memorial Park, which will include the relocation of a covered bus stop.

Blaine public works director Steve Banham said the south-facing exterior of the building has developed serious leaks which are causing major water damage to the city clerk’s office and the open office areas during heavy rain falls, including mold growth, a potential health risk, of which the Whatcom County health department requires its removal.
“The major purpose here is to try to keep the weather out,” he said. “Of course, we’ll still try to make it look as presentable as possible.”

The decision authorized a contract with Colacurcio Brothers construction company to review the scope of the problem and perform needed repairs not exceeding $10,000. Once the building has been sealed to stop leaks, city staff intends to hire a separate contractor to perform mold removal and repair the interior wall.

Banham said he expects further upgrades and repairs to be made later in the year.

- By Tara Nelson