July 19, 2008 in Voices

Rocky Hill Park rolling along

Work has started on first phase of newest Liberty Lake Park
By The Spokesman-Review

Construction has begun on Rocky Hill Park, the newest park to be added to the extensive public areas in Liberty Lake.

The first phase, expected to be completed in September, will develop seven acres of the 14-acre site. The work will include landscaping, sprinklers, two basketball courts, sidewalks and a parking lot.

“They’re already starting to dig dirt,” Mayor Wendy Van Orman said.

Wesslen Construction submitted the lowest bid of $380,955. The city originally had a list of alternative items worth a combined $187,062, such as benches and picnic tables, which were not included in the bid. Now it appears that some of those items will be added.

“We’re going to pick up a good $70,000 of these alternates,” Van Orman said.

The city is actively looking for businesses and community groups willing to make donations to cover some of the other extras.

What won’t be complete this fall is the playground. That’s both to let the grass get established and allow the community a say in what kind of equipment is purchased. “We want to get the community involved in building a play structure, much like a fort,” she said. The equipment should be installed in the spring.

The land at Mission Avenue and Winrock Street was originally farmed by the Domrese and Kennett families, then purchased by Bill and Judi Williams. It is being developed by Greenstone Corp.

The first seven acres were donated to the city in June. The other seven will be donated in phases as the city pays for improvements. The agreement carries the stipulation that the city must complete the entire 14-acre park in five years.

The city has applied for a $500,000 grant to complete phase two of the project and should find out next year if it will receive the grant. If it doesn’t, the city will look for other funding options. “We’re hoping to get as many grants as possible,” Van Orman said. “Within five years, you will see the second phase of Rocky Hill Park.”

As planned, the second phase will include tennis courts, a community garden, picnic shelter, restrooms, another playground and more parking. A historic barn and pumphouse already on the site will remain.

Development of parks and open space has been a goal of the council since the city was formed, Van Orman said. Pavillion Park is the crown jewel of the park system, but several small neighborhood have also been created.

“During the comprehensive plan process, we devoted 30 percent of our land to open spaces.”

Nina Culver can be reached at 927-2158 or via e-mail at ninac@spokesman.com.

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