Year in Review: City of Blaine
By Gary Tomsic
Blaine City Manager
2008 was a very busy year for the city of Blaine. The biggest news was the awarding of bids and start of construction on the Lighthouse Point Water Reclamation Facility on Marine Drive.
After eight years of studying alternative locations and technologies for waste water treatment, construction on the plant is well underway and scheduled for completion in 2010.
Through an effort led by public works director Steve Banham, the city was able to put together a favorable financing package of low interest loans and grants and award the construction bid in a favorable bid climate.
Another long standing public works project has been the construction of a new electric substation. After careful study, the city decided to joint venture a project with Puget Sound Energy. The agreements have been approved and construction will start in 2009.
The city continued its street construction program with three projects. A one block section of Clark Street is finished and the rebuild of Boblett Street is still underway.
The city also completed a major project on Semiahmoo Parkway where a new stormwater collection system was installed and the road received a new overlay. This project also included the paving of the parking lot at Semiahmoo County Park and the installation of a special pipe to carry re-use water to the Semiahmoo Golf Club.
The closing of the Blaine Municipal Airport was another major project. The city council voted to close it by the end of 2008.
The airport land was rezoned and offered for sale. The airport will be closed on December 31.
The council is working with local investors who are interested in developing the airport property. The current economic climate has made it very difficult to sell the land. In 2009, the city will continue to negotiate the termination of several leases and continue to market the property.
Building and development activity in the city has fallen off dramatically. Home sales and construction throughout the state are very low and Blaine has been no exception.
The negative side is that growth in the city has virtually stopped. The positive side is that the slowdown is giving the city a chance to catch up on some of its planning, zoning and development permitting programs.
Perhaps the saddest news we had in 2008 was that Meredith Riley, the city’s finance director, retired after 20 years. Meredith has been an excellent finance director and will be greatly missed.
Her position is being filled by Jeff Lazenby who will start on January 2.