Shortly after the Port of Bellingham concluded the purchase of the G-P waterfront site, officials invited Western Washington University to come up with a list of potential ideas on how it might utilize parts of the area.
After months of research and analysis, various departments and groups at WWU have produced a list of possible uses, from relatively small-scale ideas such as moving Tom Dorr and the Small Business Development Center out of the Bellingham Towers and into new waterfront digs to more massive undertakings such as moving the entire College of Business and Economics to the site.
Many of the ideas strike us as poor or inappropriate uses for the site; others would be not only appropriate but, in our view, beneficial to the redevelopment effort as a whole. Among these are:
* The relocation of the Performing Arts Center to a new waterfront venue. A cultural hub such as this would prove to be a valuable commodity, and as, the WWU report stated, “would encourage benefactors to visit the Waterfront area on weekends and during evening hours, promoting increased economic development.”
Port officials are also quite interested in this idea; for more, see The Conversation, on page A10.
* The relocation of the Shannon Point Marine Center from Anacortes. A working research facility could prove to be a magnet for other high-tech, low-impact businesses.
WWU is undeniably a huge economic driver for this city. While existing plans should not be scrapped because of this report, aspects of it could prove to be key ingredients in the overall recipe of the site’s final plan.
The entire WWU report is available for viewing on line at http://www.wwu.edu-/president/Pre-proposalsSummary.htm