Submitted by the City of Bellingham, written by Nicole Oliver
The City of Bellingham has accepted the donation of a portion of the pier at Little Squalicum Park from Lehigh Northwest Cement Company. Long sought after for public access, this incredible asset will provide our community a spectacular waterfront experience on the north end of Bellingham Bay.
The City of Bellingham has successfully negotiated a no-cost transfer of the majority of the former industrial pier located at Little Squalicum Park in north Bellingham Bay. The Bellingham City Council approved the transfer at its November 22, 2021, regular meeting. The City is contracting to design and construct structural and environmental improvements to the pier to make it accessible to the public.
“This incredible asset will provide our community with an unprecedented waterfront experience from the north end of Bellingham Bay, including spectacular views of the bay, the City and Mount Baker,” said Mayor Seth Fleetwood. “Many of us have championed and supported this acquisition for a long time. I am thrilled we will be able to preserve and improve this iconic structure and I look forward to the day it opens to the public.”
Fleetwood said City Parks and Legal staff worked together to negotiate the transfer and ensure the City’s future risk of ownership is minimized.
The inner section of the pier transferred to the City is 1,200 linear feet long and 14 feet wide. Rehabilitation will create an overwater walkway anticipated to be similar to Taylor Dock.
The City recently contracted with Moffat & Nichol to complete design and permit applications that will be required to rehabilitate the City’s portion of the pier, including removing existing treated decking and installing new pedestrian handrails, low-level solar lighting and accessible walking surface. This design work will ensure safe public access and support the completion of environmental and permitting applications to submit to the regulatory agencies.
Lehigh Northwest Cement Company is retaining and responsible for demolishing 600 feet of the outer section of pier and associated pipe supply line, which is within the Department of Natural Resources tidelands.
Depending on the success of and timeline for permitting, construction is anticipated in 2023 or 2024. Improvements are estimated to cost $4.5 million, expected to be funded by Greenways, park impact fees and grant funds.