Saturday in the park initially did not look promising.
Torrential rains fell for most of the morning, as a strong storm system moved across Spokane Valley from the southwest. It looked for a while that the gala opening of the new, long-in-the-making, highly anticipated Greenacres Park could be a washout.
However, the clouds parted and the winds died down shortly before 10 a.m. By the 10:30 informal ceremony, the only thing the 50 or so in attendance had to watch out for were low wet spots on the sprawling acreage’s grassy surface.
“The disc golf course has some new impromptu water hazards,” joked Mike Stone, parks and recreation director for the city of Spokane Valley.
Ferdinand the bull watches over the visitors to the new Greenacres Park in Spokane Valley on Saturday. The park, after years of planning and work, was opened by city officials last weekend. Photo by: Mike Huffman
Children worked the controls to the splash pad. Pictures were taken with the park’s resident inanimate bovine, Ferdinand. And onlookers were prepared to duck when Mayor Towey made the first toss on the aforementioned disc golf course.
“We’re very excited,” Stone said during his opening remarks. “There’s still some work to be completed. It’s been a wet spring, which has affected our ability to lay down turf. This morning is proof of that.”
The unexpected has pretty much been the routine leading up to Saturday’s opening of the park, located at Long Road and Boone Avenue. North Greenacres neighbors had been petitioning for a park in the area since before incorporation. It wasn’t until 2007 that the city of Spokane Valley was able purchase the 8.3-acre site on the strength of state grant funding and city matching dollars.
Surveys were conducted on what features area residents preferred, and by 2010 it was determined that an agricultural theme – based on Greenacres’ long farming history – made sense.
With the help of Mike Terrell, a local landscaping consultant, traditional park features like playground equipment and sports fields began to be incorporated with the nontraditional, like the barn-mounted xylophone and sculpture of Ferdinand, the pacifist bull who was content to smell the flowers.
Also on hand Saturday were members of the North Idaho Disc Golf Club to show those interested how to make the best use of the park’s disc golf course, a first for the city.
The park also includes:
- Parking for 29 cars
- A splash pad
- Bathrooms (housed in a building with a red barn theme)
- Picnic shelter that can be reserved for special events
- A giant apple in the middle of a large sandbox
- A play area that is partially enclosed by a large red barn
Saturday’s official opening kicked off with Mayor Tom Towey leading a group of neighbors, civic leaders and children for a half-mile walk around the park, interrupted with a tree planting ceremony.
Prior to cutting the ribbon, Stone thanked Mary Pollard, a neighborhood advocate who “embraced this project since day one.”
Towey called it a “great day for North Greenacres” and a testament to what government and private citizens can accomplish by working together.
“Never doubt that a thoughtful group of small citizens can change the world,” Towey said.
Pollard thanked her neighbors and “this city that decided to care.”