The Tateyama Friendship Garden is located on the west side of Bellingham’s Central Library next to Grand Avenue. Tateyama, Japan, was the first of seven sister cities associated with Bellingham, and that special relationship began on July 11, 1958. The garden is a symbol of the close friendship between the people of Tateyama and those living in Bellingham. The center piece of the garden is a Japanese-style lantern, but plans are being made to enhance the entire garden to more closely resemble a traditional Japanese garden.
On Friday, September 16, seven volunteers made big progress clearing and cleaning the existing and future garden site. The following day four volunteers continued the work. It is estimated that five to six cubic yards of debris were removed. Bellingham Parks Department swept through and extricated the compost. A great collective effort on everyone’s part.
Looking ahead, members of the Bellingham Sister Cities Association are teaming up with Bellingham Parks and Public Works departments to repair, improve, and beautify the Tateyama Friendship Garden area. Goals are ambitious but are certainly doable: To divert water from the library building, repair the deteriorating retaining walls and parking surface, put better Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) measures in place, and to expand our symbol of international friendship with an enlarged and more sophisticated Japanese-style garden. Working together, the people of Bellingham can certainly attain these goals.