Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Construction crane arrived

About a week or two ago, this big construction crane arrived in my neighborhood. Kind of reassuring to see it go up with all the dismal economic news around. In spite of the news, this towering crane is starting work. Building Walton Place. It will be a mixed income residential development with much of the funding, I think from HUD. Bellingham Housing Authority. I read, in an earlier article, that some units will be market priced while others will be below market for affordability. Mixed income.

HUD is part of the government and these days it can look like the government is the only game in town. Several other private high rise developments that were planned for Bellingham are now on hold or in foreclosure. I like density as opposed to single family or several acre plots that create sprawl. These big projects were designed for density, but the banking crisis got in the way. Still the HUD project is happening and it's crane was just set up. Crane is now towering over neighborhood and looks like its working.

Some thing's working at least.

Also, not far from there, work continues on the big new art and children's museum. Some of the funding for that comes from Bellingham Arts District. State funding. I think a certain percentage of sales tax diverted to the formation of a "culture district." Kind of an answer to something similar that built those big sports stadiums in Seattle. Like it our not, it's happening. It does look kind of neat. A "curve wall" is taking shape.

We're getting a new plaza downtown as well. There was once a turn lane at Holly and Bay Streets. Traffic whipped around that corner in an alienating way. Zoom, zoom.

Now the lane is being torn out and traffic will have to stop at light rather than making the cheating right turn. A little plaza is going where that lane was. Not far from the American Museum of Radio and Electricity. It will make a nice little space. They will even be able to dim some streetlights for things like slide shows.

Little by little, the pieces of "blue state" are coming in. Maybe it isn't all blue state. I know people often grumble. They say the business of our city is government. Well, government is a driving force in the economy.

On the national level, government also seems to be the banker of last resort.

I guess government is always an important part of the equation. Not the only part, but these days, it's reassuring to see the government is still working. Or at least that's where much of the construction around downtown is coming from.

Oh, I forgot, there's a new bank going in also. Key Bank at corner of Holly and State. Lot sat empty for a while. I was wondering if plans were scuttled in banking mess, but no. Construction of the new Key Bank has finally begun.

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