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Broadcasts on agenda

Council to consider TV package

After months of discussion, the Spokane Valley City Council finally inched toward making a decision on broadcasting council meetings.

All the council members present, with Bill Gothmann and Bob McCaslin absent, said they would like to consider a motion at the next council meeting to approve asking Community Minded Television to continue broadcasting the council meetings after the Spokane Valley Business Association quits paying for the service at the end of June.

But during the discussion Councilman Dean Grafos asked IT specialist Greg Bingaman what it would cost for the city to do the broadcasting itself. “In my last presentation I gave you folks that,” Bingaman said, referring to a lengthy presentation and discussion during the April 30 council meeting.

“I didn’t remember in that presentation that you gave us a number,” Grafos said.

In his April 30 report, Bingaman gave the council three different broadcast options: continuing with Community Minded Television with delayed playback, real time production with delayed playback, and live broadcasting. The cost for each option was given and further broken down into startup costs and annual costs.

Grafos was not only present for the April 30 meeting but participated in the discussion and asked questions about the costs and what was included.

The motion next week will be to continue the broadcasting on a month-to-month basis rather than a long-term contract. “I think we ought to continue it until we’re through with the budget process and see if we can scrape up enough money for this,” said Councilwoman Rose Dempsey.

In other business, the council got its first look at the proposed master plan for the development of Greenacres Park. The city has purchased eight acres of land at Boone Avenue and Long Road. Meetings have been held to get input about what amenities residents would like in the park.

“Swings were a high priority,” said landscape architect Mike Terrell, who has been serving as a consultant on the project. The No. 1 priority, however, was restrooms.

Terrell presented a proposed design with play fields, playgrounds, splash pad, amphitheater, tennis court, basketball court, picnic shelters, community garden, disc golf course and a skate park. The most heavily used features would be clustered near the parking lot on Long Road. “We focused a lot of the core activities in the center of the park,” he said.

The first phase of the park would include the playgrounds, splash pad, restrooms, amphitheater with a stage, walking paths and a multi-use play field. It would also include all sidewalks and frontage improvements along the outer edge of the park. The estimated cost is $1.5 million, said parks and recreation director Mike Stone. The city has already received $500,000 from the state for development of the park and is seeking another $500,000 grant and other funding options are being explored. “We want to make sure we’re turning over every stone we can,” he said.

“How many phases are we looking at?” said Councilwoman Brenda Grassell.

The plan currently has two phases but it could be broken down further if needed, Terrell said. “Phase two would be, in dollar amounts, less than phase one,” he said. “A lot of the heavy lifting is done in phase one.”

Dempsey said she wanted the park to include places for families to simply sit and play in the grass. “It doesn’t seem like there is much space allotted for just hanging around,” she said.

“The multi-purpose field to the south is good hanging around space,” Stone said. He also noted that the sections of the park next to the roads would also be landscaped.

Dempsey also questioned whether a 30-space parking lot was big enough. Terrell said that the number of spaces is standard for a neighborhood park and no one anticipates holding large events there. There will also be ample street parking available, he said. “There’s a balancing act on the number of spaces.”

Grassel asked if planners had included security cameras. “Are we thinking of that?” she said.

Stone said none of the city parks currently have security cameras and as of now they don’t appear to be needed. “They’re not inexpensive,” he said. “The question is, do we have enough of a problem to warrant putting them in?”

When the park will be built depends on the funding the city gets, Stone said. If the city gets the grant they have applied for, they will be allowed to break ground in July 2011. The city should find out in September if the grant has been awarded or not, Stone said.

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