October 6, 2012 in Washington Voices

New Discovery grounds

Two picnic shelters, landscape added at site
By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Mike Stone of Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation kneels on a new pad for a shelter and picnic table next to Discovery Playground Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

There was an island of patchy grass and weeds along Mirabeau Parkway just south of CenterPlace surrounded by lush landscaped lawn and Discovery Playground. But now the island is being transformed into a landscaped spot that matches its surroundings.

“It’s just been something we’ve always wanted to do,” said Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone as he looked over the patch of bare dirt. “It was a puzzle piece that was missing.”

The site has been graded and trees planted. The concrete slabs for two small picnic shelters are in. The ground has been shaped to include berms to match the surrounding area, which has a lot of contouring. “We’re trying to make it look like it’s not an afterthought,” Stone said.

The site will be seeded with grass next week. “They’ve got it pretty much in shape,” Stone said. “They were testing the sprinkler systems the other day.”

Stone said the two new picnic shelters will be able to be reserved. People are always calling to ask if they can reserve the picnic shelter inside Discovery Playground for birthday parties, Stone said, but reservations are not accepted for it. Each of the two new picnic shelters will include a single, extra-long picnic table perfect for birthday parties.

The Parks and Recreation Department will begin taking reservations for the shelters in the spring. They will be rentable in two-hour blocks instead of the five-hour blocks that are standard for other picnic shelters. “Nobody has a five-hour birthday party,” Stone said.

The new shelters will be on the east side of Discovery Playground opposite the entrance. Stone said he is looking at modifying a maintenance access gate to allow people to come and go from the east side of the playground instead of forcing them to walk around. “That’s a question we haven’t solved yet,” he said. “I think we will put something in there.”

The sprucing up of the grounds around Discovery Playground isn’t the only project the Parks Department is working on. New playground equipment destined for Terrace View Park arrived this week and will be assembled soon, Stone said. “We went with some pretty bright colors,” he said. “We should get that thing done yet this year.”

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