Thousands of people of all ages came together Saturday to welcome a dream come true in Spokane Valley.
CenterPlace officially opened its doors during the 16th annual Valleyfest.
Envisioned as a senior, cultural and educational center in Mirabeau Point Park, CenterPlace will be the scene of weddings and dance recitals, a place to take a college course or meet friends.
The project took about 10 years to realize.
“If you don’t take the risk to fail, you don’t have the opportunity to succeed,” said Rich Munson, Spokane Valley’s deputy mayor, during the opening ceremony.
“It’s an example of the success of public and private partnerships,” said Steve Jurich, of the Mirabeau Point Trustees.
The $10 million, 54,000-sqaure foot community center is located in an area that incorporates Spokane River views.
On Saturday, a dance performed by two women – the Diamond Duo – seemed to capture the joy the crowd felt while they explored CenterPlace for the first time.
Doris Voshel and Rowena Sargent, self-described senior citizens, weaved their childhood story of being ranchers’ daughters into a 30-minute performance.
Spectators’ faces beamed as the women clogged on the dance floor in CenterPlace’s senior center wing.
Ida Herleder and Leah Goehner stayed for the show, but they came for the tea and cookies served by the Red Hat Society in the lounge area of the senior center.
Herleder, who has lived in the Valley since 1961, said CenterPlace “is just what we needed here. It’s just lovely.”
Entertainers filled the center’s great room with song and dance throughout the day. Educators in the community college wing of CenterPlace, informed people of the courses that would be offered in the building.
“The goal for this location is workplace development,” said W. Kelly Chun from Community Colleges of Spokane.
Classes will be offered by the Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College, the Institute for Extended Learning and Eastern Washington University.
After touring CenterPlace, many children and adults meandered down the path behind the building to the other Valleyfest activities.
Young anglers crowded around Mirabeau Springs Pond, which is about halfway to the park, to catch trout swimming underneath the waterfall.
“I caught a fish on my first try,” said 4-year-old Jenna Van Steenkist, with a little coaching from dad, Grant.
Valleyfest organizers stocked the pond with trout and provided the poles and bait for those under age 14.
Bailey Mors, who watched the Valleyfest parade Friday, continued basking in the weekend activities Saturday.
“Fishing was my favorite part,” the 6-year-old said. But her fun didn’t stop there.
“We got to touch some baby duckies, a lamb, a goat and a turkey. We got to hold some rabbits. We got to slide down a big slide, and we went in the jumping castle. And you know what? We even saw a llama.”
That’s not all.
“At the end of the day, we got some ice cream,” Bailey said. “Then we had to go home.”