February 14, 2008 in Voices

Parks wants ideas on water spray features

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Fast facts

Spokane voters in November approved a $42.9 million bond issue to replace or rehabilitate five existing swimming pools, add a new outdoor pool in northwest Spokane, install splash pad play areas at 10 neighborhood parks and build new ball fields and recreational facilities at Albi Stadium and elsewhere.

Spokane parks officials are asking citizens for help in planning new pool and park facilities under a $42.9 million bond issue approved last fall.

A series of neighborhood meetings got under way this week, and more will be scheduled for next week.

Initially, parks officials want residents to help decide what types of features to be included in as many as 10 “splash pad” water spray features that are part of the bond funding.

Three meetings were held this week for splash pads at Audubon, Chief Garry and Thornton Murphy parks.

Next week’s meetings are:

•Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Lidgerwood Elementary School’s multipurpose room, 5510 N. Lidgerwood St., for a splash pad at Friendship Park.

•Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Roosevelt Elementary School’s multipurpose room, 333 W. 14th Ave., for a pad at Manito Park.

•Next Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Sacajawea Middle School’s cafeteria, 401 E. 33rd Ave., for a pad at Coeur d’Alene Park.

“We are making an extra effort to reach out to people of all ages and all neighborhoods,” said Nancy Goodspeed, park spokeswoman.

In addition, children at six elementary schools are being asked to select the kinds of splash or spray features they prefer, and their input will be included in decision-making, Goodspeed said.

Parks officials said they want to have six of the splash pads completed and ready to use for at least part of the coming summer season, but that the construction timetable is tight.

Four additional splash pad locations are being sought for eight potential locations. The initial six parks were selected because they had wading pools that were removed several years ago.

Interim Park Director Roger Crum said the Park Board had indicated to voters last year that it wanted to move quickly to plan and build the new pools, splash pads and other facilities.

He said he was given orders to “get it moving. Make it happen.”

The Park Board has selected a team of consultants for the detailed planning.

They are ALSC Architects of Spokane, for pool construction; David Evans and Associates, Spokane, for splash pads; Robert Droll Landscape Architect, Lacey, Wash., for an Albi sports complex and youth baseball fields; and Counsilman-Hunsaker, St. Louis, on implementing a previous master aquatics plan through the bond issue.

Roen Associates of Spokane was chosen as the project manager to oversee contracts, budgets and the work.

Crum and Goodspeed said the city needs professional expertise to ensure that the bond money is spent properly.

Planning is also on a fast track for replacing Comstock, Cannon, Hillyard, Liberty Park and Witter pools. A sixth pool location is being sought for northwest Spokane to replace Shadle indoor-outdoor pool, possibly at Albi.

Again, neighborhood residents will be asked to participate in planning for the new pools, including details of water features, exact location and potential restoration. Those meetings are not yet scheduled.

Crum said the city hopes to have the pools’ design completed by the end of summer so that construction can begin as soon as the swimming season ends in August. The goal is to have pools open the following season.

“It’s a tough target depending on winter weather, but that’s the goal,” he said.

A Web site is being started at www.spokanepoolsandplay.com to keep residents up to date on meetings and developments.

“There is a lot of stuff running on parallel paths,” Goodspeed said.

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