Sponsor Your Sounds: Help keep this community event free!

DowntownSounds

The Downtown Bellingham Partnership is looking to the community to help support the annual Downtown Sounds summer concert series. For the first time, the thousands of weekly attendees can now contribute to keeping this incredible event alive through the event’s crowdfunding campaign page.

Downtown Sounds, a free concert series in the streets of downtown, is turning 10 years old this summer and is once again scheduled to provide 5 weeks of free concerts, beginning July 9th. Each concert features a variety of artists, food provided by local eateries, aSounds beverage garden, kids’ activities, and entertainment for the whole family. What started as a small concert in the alley has grown to a major event with thousands of attendees each week in the middle of Bay Street in front of Downtown Bellingham staples such as Bayou on Bayou, Pickford Film Center, and the Spark Museum.

In order to provide the same quality of free entertainment, we need community support to help pay for the ever-increasing production costs during the series. Supporters can visit our campaign page from now until July 9th to contribute.

“Thanks to Downtown Sounds, for one day a week, several weeks each summer, an entire city block is shut down for the sole purpose of giving everyone who wants it the opportunity to see top-notch live, free, family-friendly music. Because of Downtown Sounds, Bellingham is a place where dancing in the streets is not only condoned, but also encouraged. Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?” – Carey Ross, Music & Film Editor, Cascadia Weekly

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SAVE THE DATE: This year’s Downtown Sounds concerts take place on 5 consecutive Wednesday evenings on July 9, 16, 23, 30, and August 6.

Bellingham Named a Top Downtown in 2014

BhamTop10

Popular travel and living website Livability has named Downtown Bellingham as one of the best downtowns in 2014. The website ranks downtowns based on population growth, ratio of residents to jobs, income growth, home vacancy rates, affordability of housing, and retail and office vacancy rates.

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Ranked eighth in the nation, Downtown Bellingham’s emphasis on local business was a major factor in its inclusion on the list. “This city by the bay has become a model for urban sustainability, and the downtown area highlights how a local living economy can work” said Livability. Casey Diggs, Operations Manager for Boundary Bay Brewery, agrees with Livability’s lauding of community support. “Being here 19 years, we have seen downtown blossom into a hub of community awesomeness. The support Whatcom County gives to downtown is something special.”

Property of The Bellingham Herald

Property of The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham has the second highest ratio of arts-businesses to residents in the country. Downtown Bellingham’s museums, theatres, and art galleries were highlighted, along with Downtown’s streetscape. One of our missions is the beautification of Downtown, adding hanging baskets, planters, and keeping the sidewalks clean for pedestrians. “My team works really hard to keep Downtown Bellingham beautiful, and it’s great to see their work recognized,” said our Maintenance Supervisor Peter Gunn.

All of us here at the Downtown Bellingham Partnership are thrilled that our community is getting national recognition for how great it is! What do you think makes our downtown so special? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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From the City of Bellingham’s website (www.cob.org):

Mayor applies respect, relationships and results to City government

By Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville

When I took office two years ago I committed to run the City with respect, relationships and results. As we reflect on our many accomplishments in the past year, those ideals stand out as key to our successes. And continuing these principles will be essential to our work in 2014.

2013 successes

We’ve had many wonderful successes in 2013, with a particular emphasis on economic development, caring for our natural resources, strengthening our downtown, protecting public safety, and directing resources toward priorities. Here are just a few:

Moving toward financial sustainability: I am pleased to report that the 2014 budget adopted by the City Council in December moves us further toward financial sustainability. The budget Council adopted aligns revenues and expenses with City operations so that the General Fund remains whole. The budget reflects community priorities, includes investments in capital facilities, technology, our safety net, and increases public safety personnel.

Waterfront District plan approval: In 2013, our partnership with the Port of Bellingham culminated in the adoption of the Waterfront District plan, a set of agreements designed to help us clean up and restore waterfront habitat and the shoreline, provide public access to the water, and attract good-paying jobs. This project – which was underway for many years – was a significant step for the City and the Port, and will lay the groundwork for decades of waterfront cleanup and other improvements, business development, and new parks and trails in our City’s center.

North end transportation improvements: Improvements at the I-5/ Bakerview Road interchange are designed to nearly double traffic capacity at this intersection. This project, completed in mid-November, represents an impressive partnership among local and state agencies that will result in cost effective, long-term safety and mobility benefits and economic development opportunities, and lays the groundwork for regional transportation solutions.

Completed construction projects promote public safety, improve traffic flow: From the new Wharf Street Roundabout to Woburn Street and beyond, we completed street expansions, pedestrian and bicycle safety projects, repairs, resurfacing and other construction all over the City in 2013.

Grant secured for new firefighting and security vessel: In partnership with the Port, the City recently was awarded $750,000 in federal funding to purchase a boat designed to increase firefighting and marine security capabilities on Bellingham’s waterfront.

Joint emergency management facility: The City, the Port and Whatcom County are jointly leasing and occupying the Olympic Coordination Center near the airport to consolidate emergency management, preparedness and response operations and staff. Public agencies are working in partnership with some of our major industrial neighbors, including BP and Phillips 66, to use the emergency operations center for a unique public/private partnership.

Emergency medical services: Our collaboration with county officials resulted in a new agreement on a joint emergency medical services system. The new system, which will be administered by Whatcom County government, maintains existing service levels for City residents and keeps the system operating within budget until the end of 2016.

These are just a few highlights from recent months that demonstrate our commitment to moving forward on community priorities relying on my principles of respect, relationships and results.

2014 priorities

Here are just a few of the many important projects on our 2014 work plan:

Fostering our vibrant City Center: Three districts make up our City Center: Downtown, Old Town and the Waterfront District. Several efforts underway culminate in actions for these areas early in 2014 including action on our multi-year downtown planning effort. The Downtown Plan is a community planning project designed identify and incentivize downtown redevelopment and establish actions the community and its partners can take over the next 10 years to continue to strengthen our downtown. The legislative process for the Downtown Plan is underway, with City Council expected to consider the plan early in the year.

Community and economic development initiatives: Action steps recommended by two work groups will continue to move forward in 2014. My Community Solutions Workgroup effort to address public health and safety issues downtown and citywide will make recommendations this month, with many of those actions incorporated into the Downtown Plan legislative process and others to be initiated by the City and its partners in the months ahead. Likewise, follow up this year on recommendations made in 2013 by the Community Solutions on Affordable Housing Workgroup will help increase affordable housing for all our residents. Another work group will be initiated this spring, focusing additional attention on business climate and economic development in Bellingham.

Parks improvements: Our many parks projects planned in 2014 include master planning and hosting a public process to name our newest waterfront park. Currently referred to as Cornwall Beach Park, the park is part of the waterfront redevelopment area south of the Cornwall Avenue and Pine Street intersection near Wharf Street. Other priority parks improvements include implementing the Squalicum Beach master plan, and reprogramming Maritime Heritage Park to make it more attractive and usable to a wider range of people. As we complete access to our park on Horton Road, we also are taking steps to create an additional neighborhood park in the Cordata area.

Protecting Lake Whatcom: Throughout 2014, we will continue our joint actions with Whatcom County and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District, addressing invasive species, retrofitting City infrastructure, and investing in incentives to reduce stormwater runoff on private property.

Library services improvements: The 2014 budget includes reinstating Sunday hours at the Bellingham Public Library during the school year. These additional hours of service will begin in February, and is just one of several ways we hope to support the library’s strategic goals this year as we consider other service and facility improvements.

These are just a few accomplishments from 2013 and highlights of 2014. These priorities and many more will be discussed in upcoming community meetings, City Council sessions and other settings in the year ahead.

Two years in to my term as Mayor I have many things to be thankful for. I work with more than 800 City employees who are top quality professionals dedicated to delivering excellent public services. I collaborate with elected officials and other leaders throughout our community, our region, our state and our nation. I am honored to be Mayor of a city with a strong sense of place, where people care about each other, care about their community, and care about the legacy we leave for future generations.

Published:  January 8, 2014

Workgroup Seeks to Address Downtown Bellingham Challenges

Mayor Kelli Linville submitted a civic agenda report  on Nov. 2 in regards to a Community Solutions Workgroup that was created to help address and solve community issues in Bellingham, primarily downtown.

“The purpose of the Community Solutions Workgroup is to convene selected community stakeholders and city staff to provide public health and safety solutions for various downtown challenges. Many exciting and positive things are happening in our city center, and the vision of this workgroup is to understand our challenges and to come up with solutions,” Linville said in the column.

The Community Solutions Workgroup’s first meeting was held on Oct. 24 to discuss challenges in the downtown area. The list of issues included homelessness, behaviors associated with mental health problems, pan handling, alcohol/drug consumption, cleanliness/beautification issues, alley responsibilities, Maritime Heritage Park programming and use, social service coordination, health-care access, police presence and community coordination, nuisance laws, street lighting and business vacancies, according to the column.

Linville ended the report by encouraging community members to contribute to the workgroup by addressing issues and to help be a part of the solution process.

In response to the column, the Bellingham Herald published a Community Conversation piece “Readers discuss challenges for downtown Bellingham.”  This article was based on Facebook comments in response to Linville’s civic agenda report. Commenters addressed downtown issues ranging from drug dealing, loitering, pan handling, littering, parking and more.

So, now it’s your turn! Please let us know what you think about the following questions:

  • What’s GREAT about downtown?
  • What issues need to be addressed in regards to downtown?
  • Is this Community Solutions Workgroup an effective solution to downtown issues?
  • What other feedback/comments do you have in regards to making downtown a better place?  

Bite of Bellingham Sponsor: Sunshine Printing

SUNSHINE PRINTING – 207 W Holly Street

Sunshine Printing

Sunshine Printing has been providing Bellingham with all of their printing needs since 1977! With great customer service and a central location on Holly Street, Sunshine offers full color printing, full service bindery, in-house die cutting, foil stamping, embossing, and more.

Sunshine has gracioiusly donated their printing services to the Downtown Bellingham Partnership and is providing all of our promotional printing surrounding the 2013 Bite of Bellingham for free! Thank you Sunshine Printing!

Bite of Bellingham Sponsors: Greenhouse, Whidbey Island Bank, and Skagit State Bank

The Greenhouse, Whidbey Island Bank, and Skagit State Bank are all proud sponsors of this year’s Bite of Bellingham. We appreciate their support in putting on this event, as the Bite would not be possible with all of our wonderful sponsors!

GREENHOUSE – 1235 Cornwall Ave

Greenhouse specializes in unique home decor, housewares, and furniture. Providing Bellingham with “a spirited collection for the home” since 1972, Greenhouse fosters creativity, community, family, and home. Be sure to check out their items of the week and great giveaways! For more information, view their Facebook and website.

WHIDBEY ISLAND BANK

With 31 branches in Northwest Washington, Whidbey Island Bank is based on strong community values. With “The Whidbey Way” in mind, they treat employees and customers as their friends and neighbors. Their services include online, personal, and business banking, as well as home loans. Their employees take on vital roles in the community by supporting both civic and charitable organizations, in an effort to make the Northwest a better place to live and work. For more information, visit their website.

SKAGIT STATE BANK

Established back in 1958 by the late James P. Bishop along with other local investors, Skagit State Bank remains an independent bank, run by local people, to serve local people.  Offering a wide range of financial services in everything from tried-and-true statement savings to commercial lines of credit, you’ll still find their home office located in Burlington, Washington with offices throughout Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties. For more information of their services, visit their website.

Bite of Bellingham Sponsors: Silver Reef Casino and Rocket Donuts/ACME Ice Cream

Both Silver Reef Casino and Rocket Donuts (+Acme Ice Cream) are participating in this year’s Bite of Bellingham as sponsors AND participants! We’re so thankful for their generosity that makes this awesome community event possible.

SILVER REEF CASINO

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Silver Reef Casino brings a high quality and exciting gaming experience to the Northwest. They offer more than 50,000 square feet of exhilarating gaming, exceptional dining and enjoyable entertainment all in a bright and spacious setting. Along with their casino, Silver Reef also provides exceptional dining, a luxury hotel, and exciting entertainment. We are so excited that as well as sponsoring, their award winning restaurant, The Steak House at Silver Reef will be participating in the Bite of Bellingham!  For more information on Silver Reef and The Steak House, visit their website.

Bite of Bellingham Menu Items

Southwest Turkey Pinwheels: Sliced smoked turkey wrapped in a tomato tortilla with spinach, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, and chipotle mayonnaise

Steak Diane: Filet mignon sauteed with shallots, thyme, grain mustard, spinach and served with portobello mushroom mashed potatoes

Ahi Takosu: Seared tuna with asian slaw in a fried gyoza wrapper

Whoppie Pies: Choice of red velvet whoopie pie with strawberry buttercream or chocolate whoopie pie with chocolate peanut buttercream.

Indian Fry Bread: Indian fry bread with strawberry, fudge, or whipped topping.

 

 

ROCKET DONUTS + ACME ICE CREAM

Rocket Donuts is a locally owned bakery cafe located in downtown Bellingham, and is now open in Fairhaven as well! With fresh donuts, muffins, cinnamon rolls, quiche, and other mouth-watering treats, Rocket is sure to please even the most discriminating of taste buds. They also serve all natural and locally made Acme Ice Cream, which contains more cream and less added air than other premium ice creams. Rocket Donuts will also be at the Bite, serving up delicious donut holes and incredible ice cream! For more information on Rocket Donuts, visit their website.

Bite of Bellingham Menu Items

Blueberry Donut Holes: Two blueberry donut holes and two cake donut holes

Butter Pecan Ice Cream: A universally loved flavor with crunchy toasted pecans that you’ll agree is one of Acme’s best

 

Bite of Bellingham: India Grill

India Grill, located at 1215 Cornwall Avenue, brings the refined style of Northern Indian Cooking to Bellingham. With 81 menu options, India Grill offers Tandoor, meat, seafood, and vegetarian specialties – all with tantalizing flavor and spice that is unique to Indian cuisine. They were also voted one of the ‘Best Places in the Northwest’!

For more information and a full menu, visit their website.

Bite of Bellingham Menu Items

Mango Lassi: Homemade yogurt whipped with mangos

Veggie Samosa: Crispy and flaky crust stuffed with spiced potatoes and green peas

Mini Combo: Veggie curry (eggplant + spinach) served with Basmati rice OR chicken curry and veggie curry mix served with Basmati rice

Jumbo Combo: Chicken, veggie, or mixed curry served with salad, naan, and Basmati rice

Chai Tea: Freshly homemade and naturally spiced, cooked with cloves, cardamom, milk, and light sugar (served hot or over ice)

Bite of Bellingham Sponsor: Boundary Bay Brewery

Boundary Bay is sponsoring the beer garden at the 2013 Bite of Bellingham! Not only will they be pouring delicious brew, but our beer garden is HUGE this year, thanks to our new venue.

The Bite is also just in time for the 2nd annual Bellingham Beer Week, so you really have no excuse not to enjoy a beer or two. Bellingham Beer Week is a 10 day celebration of craft beer and will feature several events at our favorite local breweries. Boundary Bay will be offering beer and chocolate pairings all week long and will be hosting Oktoberfest on Thursday, September 26th. Check out the events calendar here, and make sure to RSVP via Facebook.

Upcoming Events at Boundary Bay:

Wednesday 9/11, 6:30-8:00pm: Boundary Brews Cruise
Boundary will be serving a variety of our award-winning beers, joined by 2 other Northwest breweries serving up their best brews. $35/adult for this cruise, which includes tastings of 3 different beers from each brewery and snacks. Reserve online, or by calling 1-800-443-4552 or (360) 738-8099.http://www.whales.com/Cruises/Beer-Tasting-Cruise.aspx

Friday 9/13, 4:00pm: Fryday Fish Fry with Electric Fuzz (5pm) and The Offshoots (8pm)
Enjoy beer battered rockfish, fries, coleslaw, and grilled oysters! Music starting at 5pm, FREE, all ages.

Saturday 9/14, 12:00pm: Books and Brews
The first ever Books & Brews Event hosted by the Whatcom County Writers and Publishers Group. Beer garden will be open for a BBQ, joined by local writers and publishers doing meet and greets and book signings.

And make sure to look out for an ADDED Boundary Brews Cruise in September for Oktoberfest!

View Boundary’s event calendar for more upcoming events!

Up to 15 Marijuana Stores Could Open in Whatcom County

Under I-502 and new rules approved Wednesday, September 4th by the Liquor Control Board, up to 15 marijuana stores could open in Whatcom County by next year. And although it is the absolute maximum, up to 6 marijuana stores could open in Bellingham alone.

According the article published in the Bellingham Herald,

“There is a 30-day public comment period before the rules are finally adopted. Public hearings on the revised rules will be held Oct. 9, though no locations have been announced yet.”

 

To read the full article, click here.

Now is your chance to speak up! What do you think about these revised rules? How do you think they will affect Bellingham? Comment below.