Whatcom County Council approved a new playground for Birch Bay's Bay Horizon Park Tuesday, as part of a larger funding package affecting Whatcom County. The 5-2 vote amending the Whatcom County 2010 Project Budget includes $1,464,253 in county projects, with $100,000 slated for the Bay Horizon Park playground project.
The playground project is a collaboration between community volunteers, Northwest parks and recreation district, Whatcom County Parks and the Lions Camp Horizon Foundation, according to information from the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Located off Alderson Road, Bay Horizon Park is on the former Blaine air force station, which served as a radar and communication station during the Cold War era. From 1951 to 1979, the station played host to the Air Force 757th Radar Squadron. In its heyday the base included barracks and other housing facilities, recreation facilities, multiple radar towers and buildings.
With satellite technology gradually overtaking the defense role of radar, the base was closed and many of the buildings were demolished, though some remain. In addition to its status as a county park, the former base contains a hostel located in what were once officers barracks, as well as Lions Camp Horizon, which serves children and adults with special needs in the summer.
The proposed playground will be one of the first public amenities at the park.
Council members Sam Crawford, Kathy Kershner, Bill Knutzen, Ward Nelson and Carl Weimer voted in favor of the funding ordinance.
Barbara Brenner and Ken Mann were opposed, citing concerns for other needed projects within the 2010 Project Budget.