By Steve Guntli
For the token price of $10, the city has acquired new land to expand its park system.
The property in question, 2.2 acres of forest and wetlands in the Drayton Reach subdivision, was offered by Whatcom Skagit Housing, the owners of the subdivision. The city will assume the expenses for maintenance from now on, but deputy community developer Alex Wenger said those costs would be minimal.
The land has already had some trail improvements, including a set of wooden stairs that were installed in 2012. The trails in the property connect to Montfort Park through a public greenway. Easements to grant public access are already in place on the land, but purchasing the property and folding it into the existing parks system ensures that the land will be properly maintained.
The low price essentially makes the property a donation, Wenger said.
“In the past, you’d see deals like this for a nickel or a dollar, so maybe there’s been some inflation,” Wenger joked.
The property still has a $10,000 bond in place from the late 2000s, when Homestead Northwest was developing the neighborhood. Wenger hopes the city will cash in the $10,000 bond and have a small playground in place by next year.
“The longer you wait, the less purchasing power that $10,000 has, so I’d rather get something in sooner rather than later,” he said.
The city council approved the acquisition at the September 22 council meeting with a vote of 6–0 (councilmember Paul Greenough was absent).
Wenger said the city has been interested in the land for several years, but they weren’t able to acquire it because it went into foreclosure.
Whatcom Skagit Housing purchased the property from the bank when they bought the subdivision.