The Spokane Valley City Council appeared to be having second thoughts Tuesday about placing a donated sculpture on a triangle-shaped piece of land at Appleway Boulevard and Thierman Road where a welcome sign and landscaping will be installed next year.
The Spokane Valley Arts Council said at the May 19 meeting that it wanted to donate a 16-foot-high sculpture by Colville artist Jerry McKellar titled “The Dance of the Sun and the Moon” to be installed at the site. On Tuesday the council was unanimous in their praise of the statue, but said it might be better suited for a location like Balfour Park where people can get a closer look at it.
“My concern was, in this particular location, we needed a message statue instead of an art form,” said Mayor Tom Towey. “I think it’s one citizens need to get close to rather than look at for two seconds as they drive by.”
Towey also said he’d like to work with the arts council to prepare a long-term plan that would pinpoint locations for future works of art “so we can work together on these things.”
Councilman Arne Woodard said he still wants McKellar’s statue somewhere in the city and suggested Balfour Park. “I love that piece of art,” he said. “Maybe it isn’t the correct piece of art in that corner.”
Councilman Chuck Hafner agreed. “I think we acted quickly that evening because it was such a nice piece,” he said, adding that if people wanted to get close, “Where could they park?”
Councilman Dean Grafos agreed that Balfour Park would be a good spot for the statue. “It would be a beautiful addition to our city,” he said.
“I certainly don’t want to discourage the arts council,” Woodard said. “Those pieces of art are real additions. I don’t want them to not move ahead with that piece of art, just not there.”
In other business, the council discussed what road projects to include in its six-year Transportation Improvement Plan. The plan has to be updated every year. “This is a planning document only,” said senior capital projects engineer Steve Worley. “Nothing in here is written in stone.”
The plan is a bit different than it has been in previous years, Worley said. Staff took out a lot of the street improvement projects that transform two-lane arterials with gravel shoulders into three-lane roads with sidewalks and added street preservation projects instead, he said.
Councilman Ben Wick said he was concerned that the city wouldn’t be able to get grant money for street improvement projects if there were only a handful in the plan. “Are we limiting ourselves by not having them on here?” he said.
“If that opportunity comes, that does not leave us out of applying for those grants,” Hafner said.
Grafos said he was concerned the city would not make enough progress if it is always waiting to hear if it received a grant. “We could wait for these grants until the cows come home on some of these projects,” he said.
A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for the June 12 council meeting.
The council also discussed whether to ban semitrucks from parking on residential streets. The city has been receiving complaints about the issue, and about semis that idle for long periods of time, creating diesel fumes and noise.
Woodard said he has a neighbor who owns a refrigerated truck and sometimes idles it for long periods. “My window is open all night,” he said. “I hear it.”
If the city does create an ordinance, it should address long-term idling, Woodard said. “It’s how long it’s there,” he said.
The city’s code enforcement officers have identified half a dozen residential areas that seem to have regular commercial truck parking, said Community Development Director John Hohman. “It seems to be fairly constant,” he said. “They must be residents.”
“I wouldn’t want a truck parked in my neighborhood on my street,” Hafner said.
Grafos suggested having an ordinance apply to vehicles over 12,000 gross vehicle weight. “What you’re talking about are semis,” he said. “I think it makes sense to have that type of ordinance.”