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Cordata Park expansion to open end of February

$4.9 million project expands recreation options, community spaces in north Bellingham

An excavator moves dirt Feb. 12 at Cordata Community Park as a parkgoer walks on a path. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)
By Charlotte Alden General Assignment/Enterprise Reporter

A $4.9 million expansion of Cordata Park will be nearly complete and open to the public by the end of February, providing more opportunities for neighbors in north Bellingham to connect, the neighborhood association hopes.

The City of Bellingham acquired the 25-acre plot in 2015, and Cordata Park officially opened in fall 2020 with playgrounds, picnic areas, a picnic shelter, trails and more. The park was the first in the north end of the city. Construction for phase two began in late May 2023, with plans for a picnic area, four pickleball courts, a basketball court, a pavilion with public bathrooms, an outdoor stage and more.

Phase two of the project cost the city $4.9 million in park impact fees.

After phase two opens to the public, there will still be some landscaping to do, said Jonathan Schilk, a landscape architect with Bellingham Parks & Recreation. Grass will be planted in March and will need 60 days to get established.

The outdoor stage in phase two of Cordata Park. Grass will be planted in March to provide a grassy seating area for community members attending shows. (Charlotte Alden/Cascadia Daily News)

Kate McDonald, the Cordata Neighborhood Association Board president, said the park is essential to helping them build community in the Cordata neighborhood.

“[Cordata] doesn’t have an urban core. It doesn’t have a town center,” McDonald said. “So, we’re really focused on doing things that can help the community feel connected to each other so we can have a stronger sense of identity.”

McDonald said the neighborhood association plans to hold their monthly meetings at the pavilion, and hopes to host concerts, school performances and other live events at the outdoor stage starting in the spring.

Community members will also be able to rent the pavilion.

Phase two of Cordata Park was in progress on Feb. 7. The pavilion will be available to community members to book once this side of the park opens in late February. (Charlotte Alden/Cascadia Daily News)

Some of the fun of the new part of the park is in the details. There’s a “skate dot” for small skaters, Schilk said — he has now designed three “skate dots” in various parks around Bellingham. There’s also a yellow swing by the pavilion and picnic area.


McDonald said Julie Guy, a Cordata resident who was a co-founder of the neighborhood association nearly two decades ago, was central to getting parks in Cordata. Guy passed away in June 2023.

“She had this really effective style of being persistent but being very polite and affable,” McDonald said. “It took a long time but we not only have this beautiful Cordata Park, phases one and two, but we have Julianna Park that’s named after Julie. And that’s a lovely park, too.”

Charlotte Alden is CDN’s general assignment/enterprise reporter; reach her at charlottealden@cascadiadaily.com; 360-922-3090 ext. 123.

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