In the Bellingham Civic Center
2021 Proposed Improvement
Objective: A meeting with Mayor Fleetwood for Bellingham Sister Cities Association (BSCA) to present a plan for redesigning the Tateyama Friendship Garden and seek support from Mayor and Council.
1958 Tateyama became Bellingham’s first Sister City, and one of the first such formalized friendships in the U.S. and a garden is established with a flowering cherry tree.
1965 The people of Tateyama gift a toro stone lantern to the people of Bellingham.
1993 The 35th anniversary was commemorated with a plaque dedicated to mayors John Westford and Toshio Tamura.
2018 Bellingham celebrates 60th anniversary with a Mayoral Summit of our seven sister cities. Three rocks and a tree are donated. Volunteers weeded and renewed the garden with the Parks Department.
2019 Seattle-based Landscape Architect Koichi Kobayashi agrees to consult in a redesign in accordance with authentic Japanese garden principles.
2020 Class for community on Japanese Garden Design is scheduled at Community Coop but has to be canceled due to the oncoming Covid 19 pandemic.
2021 Japanese Garden Design with Kobayashi is presented via Zoom on June 17.
Bellingham Parks and Public Works have determined that present retaining walls will need to be repaired or replaced. BSCA proposes that this work can be accomplished in accordance with a new design for the garden and cost-sharing with Bellingham businesses and volunteers.
BSCA is eager to discuss its contributions in design, excavation, materials, stone setting, construction and planting.
Purpose of Garden Improvement:
- To beautify a highly visible outdoor space in the core of Bellingham’s Civic Center.
- To demonstrate that we value diversity of culture, starting with our 60-year friendship with Tateyama and now cities in seven different nations.
- To provide an aesthetically satisfying, emotionally quieting, and intellectually stimulating space.
- To establish an outdoor venue for Japanese and other cultural activities and studies.
- To form a group of Friends of the Tateyama Garden to maintain the garden into the future.
Conceptual Design Sketch created by Koichi Kobayashi:
- The design follows classic Japanese garden tenets as opposed to interpretations of them.
- Outwardly, the design will feature a new entry gate and low wall at street level to draw attention to a unique feature and invite the public to enter.
- Internally, the design draws inspiration from the physical attributes surrounding each city by:
- Juxtaposing representations of Mt. Fuji and Mt. Baker
- Utilizing the profiles of each city’s coastline in plan-view
- Featuring a passive water feature at center
- Building a bridged pathway to cross the water
- Incorporating geological characteristics of each city
4. The design may also incorporate:
- Natural stone pathways
- A trellis with bench
- Stone steps
- Channeled rainwater/dry streambed feature
- A stone wall simulating the ramparts of Tateyama Castle
- A peace bell
- A commemoration of WWII Japanese American internment
- Resonance with the Arch of Reconciliation on the opposite bank of the park
- Utilize Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles