By Ian Ferguson
The city of Blaine has committed to paying the remaining cost of finishing the pavilion on H Street after city council voted to allocate $115,000 from the general fund.
A long-envisioned recreational building for the Blaine branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Whatcom County, the pavilion is partially constructed on land next to the Blaine Senior Center. The building will be available for other recreational uses, but its primary purpose is to add much-needed programming space for the cramped Boys & Girls Club.
“We have the largest per-capita enrollment in Whatcom County, but we have the least amount of space,” said Brian Johnson, a Blaine Boys & Girls Club board member, as he urged council to commit the funds. “This will be a wonderful addition to the lives of many Blaine kids, and a dream come true for those of us who have worked on it for so long.”
Factoring in a previous allocation of $50,000, the city’s total contribution to the $562,000 project is $165,000. Other donors include professional basketball player Luke Ridnour, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, the Whatcom Community Foundation, Blaine-Birch Bay Parks and Recreation District 2 (BBBPRD2) and other community stakeholders.
The project is now fully funded. City manager Dave Wilbrecht said construction should be completed by the end of October.
“We’ll be looking to the community to help with things like exterior landscaping, and we’ll be asking for volunteers,” Wilbrecht said.
Although it’s called a pavilion, the structure will be more like a gymnasium, with enclosed walls and a surface appropriate for basketball and other recreational activities. After giving $30,000 to the project in April, the BBBPRD2 board of directors expressed hopes of using the building to expand recreational offerings in Blaine when the Boys & Girls Club is not using it.
The Blaine finance committee recommended city council allocate the needed $115,000 based on extra money found within the 2015 budget. Grants and property insurance recoveries caused the general fund revenue to be 1 percent higher than expected through June 2015, adding $46,000 of one-time revenue. An additional $47,000 came from audit cost savings. A federal, single audit was budgeted for 2015, but it was not required for this year. The remaining $22,000 comes from one-time sales tax revenue.
Wilbrecht said the money ensures that the pavilion will be constructed to full specifications, with restrooms, a heating and cooling system and other necessities that hadn’t yet been funded even though construction had already begun in June.