Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Library, city partnership proposed in early 2012

12/28/2012

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

This is the first of two-part look back at the notable news and stories from 2012. The second installment will appear next week.


January

Steve Peterson was sworn in, once again, as the city of Liberty Lake’s mayor. He said he would restore the position of city administrator to the municipality.

In the city of Spokane Valley, Mayor Tom Towey was given the nod by his City Council colleagues to serve another term holding the gavel. “I’m really encouraged by the direction the city of Spokane Valley is going,” Towey said.

Representatives with the Spokane County Library District appeared before the Spokane Valley City Council to pitch the idea of partnering up on purchasing property, owned by Valley businessman Jack Pring, west of Balfour Park in order to expand the park and potentially locating a new library. Council members seemed largely supportive of the idea and vowed to investigate the idea further.

The Liberty Lake City Council approved a pay increase for city employees by a 3-1 margin. Council Member Odin Langford passed the only no vote.

Expanding amenities at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center – specifically the agricultural buildings – would bring more business and shows to the fairgrounds. That was the promise of Rich Hartzell, fair director, who pitched the idea to county commissioners.

Spokane County snowplow crews could be tracked over the Internet, however the same could not yet be said for Spokane Valley snow-clearing efforts.

Spokane Valley Fire Department’s board of commissioners learned that the move from Station 1 to the under-construction new administration building at Montgomery and Wilbur sometime in mid-April.

February
Keith Kopelson, who fell by less than 80 votes to Shane Brickner on the Liberty Lake City Council, was appointed to replace the resigning Ryan Romney. Romney cited work and family obligations for his reasons for leaving.

The Spokane Valley City Council renewed a park-maintenance contract with Senske Lawn and Tree Care.

In a daylong retreat, the Spokane Valley City Council concentrated on road maintenance and economic development.

The city of Millwood was faced with the unpleasant possibility of raising water rates.

Local school districts saw success in passing maintenance-and-operations levies in the February special election.

The city of Liberty Lake moved forward with its search for a municipal head in the form of a city administrator.

A city survey yielded some interesting results. One suggested Spokane Valley “go back to the way it was before it was incorporated into a ridiculous city.” Another had a bold real estate plan: “Get someone to move into a few of the empty business buildings.”

While campaigning for his dad, Josh Romney – son of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney – stopped by CenterPlace in a campaign appearance to stump for his father and lead caucus training.

Motorists traversed a reopened Sullivan Road Bridge after some temporary repairs were made, but a permanent solution would be needed soon.

March
Town hall meetings, interview panels and a tour of the town could all be part of the process of bringing a new city administrator to the city of Liberty Lake.

West Valley School District Superintendent Polly Crowley announced she would step down after taking the job in 2005. Crowley would retire at the end of June.

The Spokane Valley City Council laws poised to loosening signage rules within the city that govern the number of signs business can have that advertise alcohol.

Officials with the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service announced that 2012 would be the Year of the Cat in an effort to increase the number of feline adoptions.
Central Valley High School boys and girls both took second place in state 4A basketball play.

City legal experts told the Spokane Valley City Council that they worry over events like the firefighters’ Fill the Boot for the Muscular Dystrophy Association will eventually lead to someone seriously getting hurt or even killed. The problem, they said, is the number of untrained people interacting with traffic.

Republican candidate for president Rick Santorum fired up his conservative base at a rally at New Life Assembly of Church in Spokane Valley. He was joined by his daughter Elizabeth.

While no formal decision had been made, Spokane County officials were learning to the former Latus Harley-Davidson dealership, 6815 E. Trent, as a possible new shelter for SCRAPS. More talk was needed, however, on the possibility of forming a new regional partnership with local jurisdictions.

After ignoring Valleyfest’s request for lodging-tax funds in 2011, the Spokane Valley City Council decided to give the summertime community event a $30,000 award during a second round of funding. “I’m thrilled,” said Peggy Doering, Valleyfest director.

April
The Spokane Valley City Council took some inroads into spending more money on street preservations.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted 6-1 – Council Member Arne Woodard was against it – to revoke the existing permit process that allows for events like Fill the Boot to take place on city streets. Event organizers were told to steer traffic, and potential donors, into parking lots rather than solicit from sidewalks at busy intersections.

University High School Principal Daryl Hart announced he would retire in June after a 37-year in education.

Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard, representing the Valley’s District 2, announced he would not seek a third term. He said he had no interest in being a career politician.

Spokane Valley Fire officials moved into their new administrative headquarters at Wilbur and Montgomery. An open house of the new facility was planned for the near future.

Kay Allen was tapped as the new city administrator for Liberty Lake. She had been serving as the director of public works and facilities for the city of Bremerton.

The city of Spokane Valley moved a step closer to purchasing land that could be used for an expanding Balfour Park. The City Council unanimously agreed for the city manager to prepare and execute a letter of intent to Pring Corp. regarding the potential purchase of eight acres of land on the north side of Sprague Avenue at Herald Road.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department would be joining the August primary ballot and would ask voters for renewal of a three-year maintenance-and-operations levy to cover 2013-2015.

After three bond vote failures, East Valley School District officials were looking for innovative ways to modernize – including a plan to purchase $62 million in portable classrooms for Trent, Trentwood, Otis Orchards and East Farms elementary schools. The buildings would be paid for through nonvoted bond debt.

May
The president and CEO of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, Eldonna Shaw, announced it was time to say sayonara to the city of Spokane Valley. The chamber pulled up stakes from its Sprague Avenue headquarters and headed off for greener pastures at Liberty Lake.

A majority of the Spokane Valley City Council agreed to approve several privately initiated comprehensive plan amendments forward to a second and final reading.

Stan McNutt – a self-styled “range rider” – rode into town to give some troubleshooting advice to members of the Spokane Valley Planning Commission.

Spokane Valley City Council members, who were looking at setting up a new animal-control contract, decided to take a closer look at SpokAnimal, the current provider for the city of Spokane.
Spokane Valley Fire officials warned that failure to pass the Aug. 7 levy could mean a reduction in paramedic service, possibly endangering lives. The levy represents approximately 53 percent of the department’s budget.

The Spokane Valley City Council decided more information was needed on whether or not to approve a zone change that would allow for a possible 240-unit “luxury” apartment complex near Broadway and Conklin. Neighbors who owned single-family homes nearby, needless to say, weren’t happy about the idea.

The Washington state Liquor Control Board announced the closure schedule for most remaining state liquor stores in advance of the first day of private liquor sales.

Spokane Valley engineers moved forward on a City Council mandate to preserve city streets; however, some council members questioned the priority list.

Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase, fellow Republican Shelly O’Quinn and Democrat Daryl Romeyn came forward to seek the Spokane County commissioner seat currently held by Mark Richard. Matt Shea, incumbent Republican 4th District legislator, would be challenged by Democrat Amy Biviano.

June
Sheriff’s detectives continued to investigate an alleged case of human trafficking where four arrests were made in Spokane Valley.
Spokane Valley City Council members charged city staff to come up with regulations that would govern idling semis and large commercial vehicles. Several city residents came before the council to testify that the problem of idling trucks and diesel exhaust persisted in several neighborhoods in the wee hours of the night.

Styx and Huey Lewis – neither of which had a hit in years – would be among the attractions announced for the September Spokane County Interstate Fair.

SplashDown waterslide park at Valley Mission Park got a lease reduction from $43,000 to $20,000 annually through 2018.

Greenacres Park was finally opened after years of development to throngs of neighbors.

A voter-registration challenge against Democratic challenger John Roskelley – who was running against Republican incumbent Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke -- was dismissed by Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore.

Four Spokane Valley fire stations received formal names: the Millwood Fire Station, the Liberty Lake Fire Station, Gateway Fire Station and Evergreen Fire Station.

After nine years at Central Valley’s Summit School, Lyle Krislock retired as principal.

Marcia Sands resigned as a member of the Spokane Valley Planning Commission. Sands’ replacement would likely be confirmed in July.

The Spokane Valley City Council agreed to approve a high-scale apartment complex near Broadway and Conklin proposed by property owner Greg Arger. However, the deal would not move forward without a developer’s agreement, which would be designed to help mitigate neighbors’ concerns over setbacks.
Spokane Valley Fire Chief Mike Thompson was denied an opportunity to make a formal presentation regarding levy information before the Spokane Valley City Council.


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