Local residents will soon have a place to play indoor basketball, hockey and other sports as renovations at the Bay Horizon Park gym near completion.
Ted Morris, president of Northwest Park and Recreation District 2, estimated the remodeling of the nearly 60-year-old gym is about 95 percent complete. The job should be completed in March.
The district leases the land and the building from Whatcom County Parks and Recreation. The renovation cost approximately $150,000, paid by taxes collected from the 2007 parks levy.
The gym renovation is the largest district 2 project to date, Morris explained. Once the gym opens, it will be able to take pressure off Blaine’s high school gym, which has been pulling double duty in hosting both high school and middle school level basketball games and practices. Basketball practices not affiliated with the school could be held at the Bay Horizon Park gym, thereby reducing wear and tear on the high school’s facility.
Morris said the gym will also be used during the Lion’s Club annual summer camp for mentally handicapped adults. Prior to the parks district, the Lion’s Club leased the gym from the county.
“I’m hoping that it will get real busy,” Morris said.
The gym needed extensive renovations, including a heating system, which it had not had in 10 years, Morris explained. That meant the gym could only be used in the spring and summer months, he noted.
The gym also needed updated restrooms, which were basically the same since the gym was built for the old Air Force base in the 1950s, Morris said. Other improvements included updated doors and exit signs to bring the building up to code and refinished floors.
Once complete, Morris hopes to host an open house in late March or early April. He pointed out the gym could be used for more than sporting activities.
Morris added the remodeled gym is an example to the community of how the parks district spends its money. The district plans to reintroduce the levy that failed by a slim margin last fall in this November’s election.
The levy, which requires a 60 percent supermajority, just missed the mark with 57.6 percent approval. The levy would have raised about $350,000 for the district annually for the next four years. It would have cost 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $20 annually in a $200,000 home.