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Greenacres Park opening set for Saturday

A farm- themed play structure and a splash pad grace the new Greenacres Park. (Jesse Tinsley)
A farm- themed play structure and a splash pad grace the new Greenacres Park. (Jesse Tinsley)

The long-awaited Greenacres Park will have its grand opening celebration Saturday, but people have already been using the park on Long Road just south of Mission Avenue this spring.

In fact, one mother liked it so much she moved in. If visitors look on top of the light next to the men’s bathroom door, they can see a mother robin sitting quietly in her nest, seemingly oblivious to the bathroom door opening and closing just below her.

Saturday’s celebration is from 10:30 a.m. to noon and will start with a one-mile family walk around the park (two laps) on paved and graveled walkways. The day will also include a tree planting, a ribbon cutting with Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey, crafts and games. Members of the North Idaho Disc Golf Club will be there to explain their sport since the park contains Spokane Valley’s first disc golf course.

The nine-hole course has already been attracting interest, said Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone. “That’s been the biggest use of the park so far this spring,” he said. “It’s really a simple layout designed to introduce people to it.”

The park boasts a 29-space parking lot, a playground with a splash pad and small picnic shelter, bathrooms and a large picnic shelter that can be reserved. The playground is near the entrance and has a farm motif. A giant apple core sits in the middle of a sandbox and the play equipment is partially enclosed by an imitation red barn. A concrete statue of Ferdinand the bull is perfect for small children to climb on as the bull lies next to a stone engraved with a quote from the children’s story starring Ferdinand. “This little area is called Ferdinand’s Farm,” Stone said.

There are plenty of benches surrounding the play areas for parents and grandparents to wait while kids expend their energy climbing, digging, sliding and swinging. There are even some plastic drums just perfect for pounding.

The giant apple core also emits a stream of water that can be controlled by a button on the edge of the sandbox. That way kids can get the sand wet and make sand castles. “We have found that sand and water are two of the most popular things kids like to play with,” Stone said. “This is a place for kids to bring their buckets and shovels and have fun.”

The only hitch in the development of the 8.3-acre park has been the grass. Areas of the park seeded early last fall look lush, but the areas that weren’t seeded until November only have sparse grass and lots of weeds. Some areas are also not draining as well as expected. “We’ve added an impromptu water feature for the disc golf,” Stone said.

The area around the play equipment had sod put down instead of seed because designers knew it would be the most heavily used area. In response to the seeding difficulties, Stone ordered sod put in between the play area and the large picnic shelter. “This is going to be where most of the foot traffic will be,” he said.

The remaining multiuse fields will be reseeded and should improve over the summer, he said. “We have a year warranty on all our landscaping,” Stone said. “It’s still going to be a work in progress.”

Greenacres Park is the first neighborhood park built since Spokane Valley incorporated in 2003. Numerous planning meetings were held in the neighborhood to get input on the amenities it should include. Stone said the grand opening was planned on a Saturday to allow the neighborhood to participate.

“It’s been a long time coming for this neighborhood,” Stone said. “I think the neighborhood is very excited. It wouldn’t be here without their effort.”