With a bond vote looming for a new Spokane Valley library on property near Balfour Park and public interest in a pedestrian trail extending east along the Appleway right-of-way beyond University Road at an all-time high, 2014 could be the year where some new capital expenditures are made.
That, at least, seemed to be the general consensus at a Spokane Valley City Council daylong workshop session held at City Hall last Tuesday.
While there is currently $5.1 million available in a capital reserve fund, another $3.5 million could become available from the general fund ($2.5 million) and a capital buildings project fund ($1.1 million) if the need arose.
Most council members, however, seem more inclined to leave the latter amount alone and earmarked for a potential new city hall; either to refurbish an existing structure or for land acquisition. Currently, the city rents space at Redwood Plaza.
Council Member Ben Wick countered that buying real estate for future park land or a potential city hall might be a better bet for the city, rather than develop existing property.
“I’m thinking a little bit differently,” Wick said. “This is a good time to get land. Not that Appleway isn’t a good project, but let’s go after some land acquisition.”
While Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard conceded -- “I don’t think I’d disagree with that” – he joined the majority of the rest of the council in supporting the initial development of the Appleway trail and being ready to start the expansion of Balfour Park if the Spokane County Library District’s planned bond request passes by voters this spring.
Council Member Chuck Hafner said that concentrating on Balfour Park and the Appleway trail would show the city is listening to its citizens.
“When people go out to recreate, are they going to go to a city hall?” Hafner asked. “No, they’re going to the park.”
Mayor Dean Grafos said that he believes there will be future grant opportunities ahead for further development of Balfour and Appleway if the city takes the first steps at funding and construction.
“Look at Greenacres Park,” he said. “We started it, then got a state grant and it’s done.”
The council did not hold its regular Tuesday night meeting this week due to the daytime work session.