But council seems a little skeptical of costs, benefits

LYNDEN ­— A unified countywide wayfinding sign program to help visitors find their way around Whatcom and its towns was presented to the City Council Monday.

The idea is to have consistent and effective vehicular and pedestrian signing that “ties the whole county together,” said Sandy Ward, head of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.

The wayfinding would be for attractions that are public, quasi-public, recreational, provide general shopping or dining opportunities, or provide lodging accommodations, according to explanatory materials. The signing would be simple, consistent and readable enough to truly work, Ward said.

But Lynden City Council members had plenty of questions about it, even though there was no action for them to take right now.

An overall price topping $300,000 was one issue.

A logo for Lynden of a berry on top of a woven-basket look also wasn’t necessarily a hit.

Others concerns were: that specific businesses, churches and community facilities cannot be listed; whether the Fairway Center would get adequate attention; the background color brown that has been chosen for the Farmland region versus blue for Coastal and green for Mountain; and how much the signs could be customized or their construction done locally.

Signs need to be on highway “gateways,” at city entrances and at key points of navigation inside.

Ward said that Whatcom County directional and destination wayfaring is fairly “jumbled up” now and is confusing to many visitors trying to find their way around to places. 

Ferndale, Everson, Nooksack and Sumas would also be in the Farmland swath while Blaine, Lummi and Bellingham would be Coastal.

With County Executive Jack Louws on board, the county would allow its Economic Development Initiative fund to be used for low-interest loans if cities need to borrow for the wayfinding upgrades.

  t’s all something that a team has been working on for about two years, Ward said. 

A testimonial for the wayfinding effort is from Teri Treat, of The Inn at Lynden, who is also on the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism board of directors.

Consultant Merje claims economic successes from wayfinding evident in North Carolina and New Jersey.

Also at the meeting:

  • The city is on track to extend the Pepin Creek Sub-Area building moratorium yet again — which has turned out to be an ongoing action every six months since 2016. A public hearing on the matter will be at the Sept. 3 council meeting.

Planning Director Heidi Gudde said she is putting pressure on an engineering team to have a “preferred scenario” by September on which a cost recovery plan can be based and final calculations made. The heart of it all is a creek realignment that lets the planned residential growth area west of Benson Road drain property and handle flood events.

  • Sept. 3 is also the date for taking public comment on an update of the city’s Water System Plan by RH2 Engineering.
  • For 2018, Berthusen Park broke about even in operating revenue and operating expenses, at just under $100,000 for each.
  • Northwest Ecological Services LLC will update the city’s critical-areas maps for about $9,900.
  • With a few revisions, the city will continue to waive the sewer general facilities charge to all eligible residential properties that switch from a septic to the city sanitary sewer system.
  • The council gave final plat approval to 33-lot Division 2 of the North Prairie Phase 7 plat that is located east of Northwood Road at Brome Street.

Sixty-lot Division 1 is being built. The new portion will be farther to the northeast.

  • Demolition of the old city water treatment plant on Judson alley, by Tiger Construction company, was due to start Tuesday, Aug. 20.