Local fights for new park in Bellingham’s fastest growing area

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- For now, it still belongs to the geese. But soon, people will converge on 25 acres of rolling hills in the north end of Bellingham where the new Cordata Park will be built.

Director of Bellingham Parks Leslie Bryson says her goal is to have a park or trail within a 10-minute walk of where anybody lives in Bellingham.

That hasn’t been the case in the fastest growing part of the city.

“Over time, the area has changed more, and lots of families are living there now,” said Bryson. “So, we’ve worked really hard to find some parkland there.”

No one has worked harder to see that happen then Julie Guy.

“I definitely had to bang on doors,” said Guy, who began pushing for a park nearly 15 years ago.

Guy is now 93 and remains passionate and relentless about the need for parks in the area.

“The park becomes the heart of the community,” said Guy. “Everybody needs to feel like they are part of a community.”

Guy says as she saw more and more young families moving into newly built neighborhoods there, she became even more vigilant and refused to take no for an answer from city leaders.

“They figure when they say no, you’re going to go away,” said Guy. “That’s the key, do not go away. So, I became known as the person who was persistent.”

Bryson said of Guy, “She walked into my office shortly after she moved there, she had a map, and said, ‘Where’s our park?’”

Guy formed a neighborhood committee, and they eventually convinced the city to create a small park in the Cordata neighborhood with one trail running through it.

In honor of her persistence, the city is now renaming the park after Guy.

And the new 25-acre site where the geese now roam will be known as Cordata park. And city leaders will always remember the woman who made it happen in that growing community.

“A lot of people would have just quit,” said Bryson. “But she really kept it going and this community really owes that to her, owes these parks to Julie Guy.”