City officials unveil plan for Blaine community center pavilion

Published on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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A number of local community groups are banding together to raise funds to build a new pavilion to be attached to the Blaine community center.

City of Blaine officials and staff with the Blaine senior center and Boys and Girls Clubs of Whatcom County have announced plans to raise approximately $250,000 to build an open-air pavilion on the east side of the Blaine community center, which houses the senior center and Boys and Girls Club. Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic said about $100,000 has already been collected from members of the community.

“It’s important for everyone to realize the fundraising efforts are not starting from scratch,” Tomsic said.

The pavilion will be built parallel to 8th Street and consist of an exposed wood frame with a clear roof made of plastic. The space underneath will be large enough to play basketball in and will be made available to community groups wishing to hold parties or other events, Tomsic said.

The pavilion will have separate bathrooms, sides that can be lowered during inclement weather and lighting and heating systems installed.

The parties involved initially started exploring the idea of covered basketball courts, but decided a space the entire community could enjoy would be a better use of money and resources, Tomsic explained. City staff in cooperation with representatives from the senior center and Boys and Girls Clubs of Whatcom County have been working on the design of the pavilion for the past six months, but the basic idea has been in existence for the past few years.

Bellingham-based architects Douglas and Susie Landsem designed the pavilion pro bono. Once the money is raised, the construction project is expected to take six months.

Tomsic said the city has yet to commit a dollar amount to the fundraising efforts, but will donate some money. He said the city cannot afford to be the primary fund source for the project.

The approximately $250,000 goal does not include donations of time and materials. Tomsic said he’ll also seek out free or at-cost materials and labor from local construction contractors.

The money to maintain the pavilion once it’s built would come from city coffers, Tomsic said, just as it does for maintenance on the community center building itself. The city owns the building, and the senior center and Boys and Girls Club rent their individual spaces from the city.

The city’s pays about $90,000 per year to maintain the entire community center building. Tomsic said this cost is justified by the lack of a city-run recreational program.

Tomsic made clear this is more than just a city of Blaine or Boys and Girls Club project, but one that will benefit the entire community. In addition to the cooperation of the Boys and Girls Club and the Blaine senior center, the Whatcom Community Foundation, an organization that coordinates philanthropic causes countywide, will manage the funds donated to build the pavilion.

To find out more about the pavilion project, contact Lynn Templeton, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, at 360/738-3808 or ltempleton@whatcomclubs.org.