Public meeting stresses importance of trail linking Blaine, Birch Bay

Published on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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The proposed walking and biking trail between Blaine and Birch Bay could prove beneficial to both communities if the local parks district has the money to fund it.

That was the feeling at the last of two public meetings Northwest Park and Recreation District 2 commissioners hosted to gather input on how to improve recreational opportunities in the area. The boundaries of the parks district
mirror those of the Blaine School District, minus Point Roberts.

The trail connecting Blaine and Birch Bay, along with any other improvements the park district is proposing, is dependent upon the passage of the six-year levy appearing on the November 8 ballot. The levy would raise $350,000 for the park district and cost 10 cents per $1,000 of a home’s assessed value per year, or $14.70 for a $147,000 home. Park commissioner Richard Sturgill said this levy will hopefully be the start of a pattern of community members consistently voting to support the park district.

“When we get this [levy] in the bag, we’ll have enough history that it will become perpetual,” Sturgill said.

Birch Bay resident Jeff Carrington, who is running unopposed for the park commissioner position being left vacant by Terry Johnston, said tying the two communities together with a easily accessible trail is vital. He said he would like property owners to realize their property values will increase with the addition of the trail and the other improvements the parks district is proposing, such as an off-leash dog park in Birch Bay.

Though Morris said he is close to reaching agreements with property owners near the radio station – where the trail would cross private property – he said trail construction between Blaine Road and Drayton Harbor could be costly and time-consuming due to the wetlands mitigation that would be required. Despite the trail’s construction costs, meeting attendees agreed the trail should be the park district’s next large project.

“It needs to be done,” Carrington said.