Harriet Spanel Park Improvement Committee
Revised 2017-09-07 0340
NOTE: Harriet Spanel Park was Franklin Park prior to 2017. The park was once the site of Franklin School (grades 19) and Franklin Elementary School 19041972.
The Friends of Harriet Spanel Park is very active. See our Organization / Contacts page for, you guessed it, contacts and if interested to get on the Friends of Harriet Spanel Park mailing list to help with the ongoing tasks related to Yorks largest park.
Franklin Park Committee Meeting Minutes are available on the YNA Minutes & Reports page.
Harriet Spanel Park Improvements Projects - Projects Completed
York neighborhood volunteers have been busy over the years in Harriet Spanel Park and the adjoining street rights-of-way. The goals have been to:
- Establish and maintain Harriet Spanel Park as a community collector that can be and is used by residents of all ages and abilities. York Neighborhood Association applied for and received the Neighborhood Initiative Program Grant for $150,000 in December, 2006. The Franklin Park Improvements Committee met monthly over several years with the City of Bellingham Park and Community Development Departments to prioritize what improvements would best enhance the usage and beauty of our park. Construction of the chosen elements began in late 2008.
- Open the wooded hillside above Franklin Park to make this natural open space available for the enjoyment of Bellingham residents. With little natural habitat left in this historic, populated neighborhood, volunteers join in at work parties once a month to remove invasive plants and weeds that had overgrown on the hillside. This made the addition of a trail possible that reaches from Whatcom Street to the intersection with Franklin Street on the north. Over two years and since, native plantings of hazelnut, salal, snowberry, indian plum, vine maple, and sword fern added to diversity of plant life. A stroll along the trail provides views of the Chuckanut sandstone formation and an interaction with and appreciation of both wildlife and plant life. An added bonus has been to greatly decrease the previous misuse of the hillside area.
In 2006 the York Neighborhood Association applied for and received the City of Bellinghams Small & Simple Grant to improve the Franklin Street Island between Lakeway Drive and Harriet Spanel Park . This was a neglected eyesore used for illegal purposes; was overgrown with weeds and invasive plants; collecting trash. The grant was used to spray the invasive plants, hire Ruben Anaya to remove dead trees, clear overgrown areas, and remove 23 truck loads of trash and debris. Two benches have were purchased and installed on the street island in 2008.
Volunteers put many hours into mulching the entire island, weeding, pruning and cutting back. Ron Barnett built a trail across most of the island. By the end of 2008, we had planted trees, bushes and flowers, completed the trail across the island to Lakeway Drive, and installed the benches. With views of Mount Baker and the bay, this area provides a beautiful, walkable space in our York Neighborhood.
Then, YNA and the City of Bellingham partnered to fund and install over $450,000 in improvements to the then Franklin Park, with Helen Jackson coordinating with the City and leading the YNA efforts of the project including a complete redesign, volunteer coordination, grant writing, and much more.
Helen Jackson, Coordinator - Thank You Helen!