Bay Horizon Park could have sunny future in Birch Bay

Published on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 by Marisa Willis

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Community activists and concerned citizens of Birch Bay met with project developers on Tuesday, July 28 to discuss a topic they feel passionately about: Bay Horizon Park.

Two dozen people attended the planning meeting at 7467 Gemini Street to voice their opinions regarding the re-development of Birch Bay’s first county park facility.

The Lions Camp Horizon Foundation, Friends of Bay Horizon Park and Whatcom County Parks and Recreation hosted the public meeting to determine what the community wants and needs in a park. Among the most popular suggestions were soccer fields, afterschool programs, self-guided nature walks and maintaining the possibility of a new elementary school.

“Let’s face it, Birch Bay is going to grow and we need to loosen up the creative energy and consider an elementary school being built here,” said steering committee vice chair Doralee Booth during the brainstorming portion of the meeting.

“It’s a no-brainer for our tax dollars, it seems to me,” she said.

Design and development supervisor Rod Lamb detailed the inventory of the site, as well as opportunities and limitations of the land. Although Bay Horizon Park spans 68 acres, Lamb said only 25 percent could be developed extensively when wetlands and buffers are accounted for.

He said the district has been working closely with ecologists to ensure the re-development process is efficient and environmentally conscious.

“It’s your community, your needs, and you know it better than me,” Lamb said while addressing the heated crowd. “This is your vision.”

The planning session was the second in a series of meetings to create a site development plan, which the district will present to county council in January or February 2010. Lamb said a children’s playground would most likely be phase one of the master plan, which could begin in 2011.

Ten of the park’s 23 buildings are scheduled for demolition this fall. Lamb said the buildings were dilapidated, contained asbestos, and posed the threat of break-ins and drug use.

The next meeting will be held in September. For more information, call 360/733-2900 or email parks@co.whatcom.wa.us, subject: Bay Horizon Park Planning.