By Isaac Bonnell
Things are looking up for Bellingham and 2011 is set to be a turnaround year, said Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike during his state of the city speech to the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Jan. 14.
“As we begin 2011, the state of our city is better than many in our state and nation, but clearly one that has been weakened by more than three years of financial hardship,” Pike said.
Still, city revenues saw a slight uptick in the later months of 2010 and the city appears to have weathered the worst, he said.
“While we won’t know the absolute final bottom line on 2010 for a few more weeks, we know in general that we are entering 2011 with a modest continued reliance on reserves to operate the government,” Pike said, adding that the city has continued to meet guidelines for maintaining reserves.
For his 2011 agenda, Pike outlined four major targets: economic growth, the Lake Whatcom watershed, government efficiency and advances in stewardship and sustainability. He listed several projects he expects to move forward in the coming year, including:
• Approval of a new waterfront subarea plan and development agreement
• Announcement of a new project on the city-owned parcel at Maple Street and Cornwall Avenue, which is being overseen by the Public Development Authority
• Bringing the long saga of Chuckanut Ridge “to a satisfactory close”
• Using funds from the new Transportation Benefit District to bring back Sunday bus service and catch up on a backlog of paving projects
Pike also acknowledged in his speech the role that the city plays in attracting and keeping businesses in Bellingham.
“As national surveys repeatedly reinforce, great companies are drawn to great communities,” he said. “Like our forebears, we choose to dedicate significant resources and effort to keep Bellingham attractive and well-rounded in life-enhancing amenities.”