As the 40th anniversary of Earth Day approaches this month, residents of the Greenacres area are hoping to celebrate a permanent green theme in the form of a new neighborhood park.
Last week, citizens of the east Spokane Valley community took part in a meeting attended by Mike Stone, director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Spokane Valley, Mike Terrell, a local landscaping consultant and several members of the Spokane Valley City Council. The conversation centered around plans for an 8.3-acre site purchased by the city in 2006.
On the funding side, the project has already received support from $500,000 in state grants as well as $200,000 in municipal money. Stone said the next step is to put together a master plan for the greenspace based on feedback from Greenacres residents. A survey on park priorities has been distributed to 500 households and will be discussed at a follow-up meeting on April 21.
At the April 7 gathering, Stone said citizens made recommendations for the design based on “what’s special to the Greenacres neighborhood.”
“We talked about historical or geological background that we could incorporate into the park,” Stone said. “This area includes some rich agricultural and railroad history.”
Terrell – who worked with Greenacres residents on ideas for development standards in 2004 and 2005 as a consultant with Greenstone Homes – said “typical features for neighborhood parks” were also on the agenda. That list included ideas like an ampitheater, walking paths, ornamental garden, sports fields and courts, a duck pond and picnic area.
“We want to hear what the neighbors think about the important elements in this park,” said Terrell, who has designed greenspaces in Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Pasco and Liberty Lake among other cities. “It will be important to create a sense of place that says “Greenacres” when you’re here.”
Mention of a new park in the Greenacres area is included in the Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Currently, Sullivan Park to the west and Pavillion Park to the east are the two closest venues while the Centennial Trail winds along the nearby Spokane River.
“There really isn’t a park in that area,” Stone said.
Stone gave credit to citizens for their dedication in holding meetings and writing letters of support that have raised awareness for the project.
“They’ve been instrumental in the process moving forward,” he said.
Stone added that the state “will be monitoring our progress to see how we’re doing.” There have been cases in the past in which cities have had grant money rescinded if a project has stalled.
“The state is going to want to see positive movement on our side,” Stone said.