Boulevard Park on the Bellingham city waterfront is again open to the public. The construction fences are down and the paths are again accessable to all. And the new artificial beach looks good - and looks like it will survive the winter storms.
While the park has been officially open all summer, most of the park along the shoreline was closed as the city parks department tore up the old beach of broken concrete chunks and brought in genuine rock, boulders and sand for a new beach. The entire park is artificial, being a land fill from the late 1800s when it was created as a lumber mill. Once the mill shut down, the area was vacant for decades. Over the years it has had various uses, one being the building of a 60 foot concrete sailboat. The building that Woods Coffee is now in was the pottery studio for Whatcom Community College. The park itself opened in the summer of 1980 and saw its first event that August in the Bellingham Maritime Festival. I was one of the group that put on that festival and helped run it for the next several summers. The park quickly became the most popular in the city, as it remains today.
There is more to the history of how the park was developed. To me, the most interesting is how waterfront industries blocked the creation of the park for a dozen or more years. Politicians and civic leaders said we had enough parks and no one would even go to a park on the bay. Of course they were worried people would get to the warerfront and see the extent of water pollution from the mills and other industries. Once the park did finally open, one could not find a single person who was ever against having a park there.
Here are some photos of the new beach - a cobblestone one with a sand upper area. The parks department has made a nice improvement to the park.