City council dedicates $118,000 in Covid-19 funds to fund a G Street pavilion


Blaine City Council voted 6-0 with councilmember Eric Davidson absent to use nearly $120,000 of federal Covid-19 stimulus money to fund a pavilion on the G Street plaza. Construction of the pavilion, which will serve as cover for the plaza’s existing bandstand, is expected to begin in 2023.

“I think it will be an extremely attractive feature downtown and will encourage even more activity in the plaza,” mayor Bonnie Onyon said. “It will be one more icon for Blaine.”

The pavilion was envisioned in 2004 when the city received an economic development investment program loan from Whatcom County to create the G and H street plazas. In addition to the plazas and pavilion, the plan also envisioned a boardwalk adjacent to the railroad. 

In July, the city received the first of two installments for the $1.5 million American Rescue Plan Act funds to offset revenue lost during the pandemic; $1.1 million remains unallocated following a midyear budget amendment. After approval from the Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee during its October 12 meeting, the city will allocate $118,000 of the federal funds to the 2022 lodging tax budget, which supports tourism expenses. The money will pay for the pavilion’s design and engineering, although additional funding sources need to be found to complete construction.

City manager Michael Jones said the city doesn’t have a full picture of the cost yet. 

“We don’t know because the design is not finalized and it will need to go to bid. I would hesitate to make a guess,” he said during the meeting. “It will certainly be in the six figures. I doubt seven, but it will be a costly public infrastructure item. It will be built to last a long time and be low maintenance, and those things are not inexpensive.”

Councilmember Charlie Hawkins questioned the pavilion’s use during Washington’s inclement weather. 

“I’m having a hard time seeing how to spend that kind of money on something you may not be standing out in the rain, but you’ll be standing out in the blowing rain in the wintertime or the wind,” he said.

Onyon said she believed a heavy canvas could be used to create a background for the pavilion.

“It’s a lot better than not having anything overhead when there’s a band out there and no protection,” Onyon said. “I don’t believe it will be a wind tunnel effect.”

The boardwalk connecting the G and H street plazas is still included in the city’s comprehensive plan but the city is not currently taking action to start construction, Jones said in a phone interview. 

“The city’s goals are to construct it but it’s not in the cost or revenue realities of the city right now,” he said.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here