Newsfrom the Blaine Chamber of Commerce

Published on Thu, Sep 15, 2005 by ara Nelson

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News from the Blaine Chamber of Commerce

By Tara Nelson

At a Blaine Chamber of Commerce meeting last week, Debbi Harger, of Blaine Community Development, presented the findings from an economic study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The three-day study was conducted by Sheri Stuart and examined economic feasibility, assets and areas needing improvement in the city.

Stuart determined Blaine has several assets working in its favor including historical neighborhoods, natural beauty, recreational opportunities and an excellent sculpture collection. Blaine could improve this, however, by continuing to add art, art studios and gallery spaces and by creating activities such as art walks, bird watching, historical tours and information plaques that also encourage visitors to move about and patronize businesses.

Harger said Stuart also recommended increasing signage, shortening the review process for signage, designating a historical district, encouraging continued building improvements, creating a wireless internet zone downtown, restoring the train depot and hiring a part-time employee for the chamber of commerce. Stuart also made several favorable comparisons of Blaine to Encinitas, California, an upscale suburb of San Diego.

The Main Street National Trust for Historical Preservation started in 1980 in an effort to revitalize historical business districts throughout the country. It has worked with more than 1,700 communities and has made more than $23 billion in improvements.

Also at the meeting, Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic said the city has tentatively scheduled the groundbreaking ceremony for the boardwalk construction at noon on Friday, September 16 and that the reconstruction of Marine Drive will be delayed until summer of 2006. In addition, the city has moved the war memorial from Lester Park to the front of city hall. Tomsic said the first site they looked at was the Peace Arch but “there was something incongruous about a cannon in Peace Arch Park,” he said.

The reconstruction of Marine Drive was originally scheduled to begin this winter. The project is expected to be completed by 2009, he said.

Also, Christina Lonquist, of Blaine, said she has plans to open a wine store at 684 Peace Portal Drive, in the space that formerly occupied Corkscrew Willow, next to Goff’s clothing store.

Lonquist, who is originally from Eastern Washington, said she has already secured the space and looks forward to supplying local and worldly wines as well as art from the entire state of Washington.
“I want to have a lot of Washington things from both sides of the mountains,” she said. “I’m very excited.”

Lonquist said she plans to open the store Monday, December 5.