The Association of Bellingham Neighborhoods (ABN) was the brainchild of Richard J. Maneval. Attempting to gather information on each association, Richard was greatly encouraged by Dan Pittsenbarger of Sunnyland Neighborhood Association (“I won’t give any information until you get all the neighborhood associations together”) to call a President's dinner of all Bellingham Neighborhood Associations.
As a result, 18-20 association presidents and neighborhood representatives met Monday, July 8, 2002 at 5:30 for pizza and conversation. We had intended to end at 7:00 pm so people could attend the City Council; however, people hung until after 8:00 pm and decided that we had too much to talk about for one meeting. We decided to met every other month and set the second meeting for September 2002 at which time we:
- began our practice of having guest speakers to inform the group
- established an email for communication among members, and
- established our goals:
- Establishing communication among the neighborhoods
- Encouraging and supporting the neighborhood associations through shared resources.
- Providing a systems perspective of neighborhood issues.
- Providing a neighborhood advocate to the City and County councils
- Informing and educating ourselves regarding common issues.
At the November 2002 meeting, we prioritized our issues and concerns:
- Planning for increased density
- Comprehensive planning among neighborhoods
- Updating individual neighborhood plans
- Participation in associations
The Bylaws of the ABN were adopted in May 2003 and the meetings were changed to every month.
In October 2003, with the help of a Small and Simple Grant from the City, a Leadership Workshop, designed and facilitated by Ann McCartney, reached 36 people, representing 19 neighborhoods, each neighborhood received a notebook. As a direct result of the workshop, Edgemoor and South Neighborhood Associations were established and Fairhaven Neighbors was resuscitated. (Future TODO: Link to workshop page for overview of program, notebook contents, participants, and Final Report)
The following advocacy actions, in the form of letters, were taken by the ABN from January 2003-June 2005,:
- Concerns about downtown parking
- Reaffirming importance of Neighborhood Plans and neighborhood participation in the City review process
- Opposing the separation and/or removal of Neighborhood Plans from City Comprehensive Plan
- Urging city to address the concerns of the Fairhaven neighborhood regarding rapid growth in Fairhaven
- Supported Guide Meridian neighborhood residents in their efforts to bring parks, open spaces and trails to north Bellingham.
( Microsoft Word document (version as of 2006 04 07) is also available)
Other older material will be available in Archives as time allows.