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City seeking input on park near University City Mall

Thu., April 18, 2013

Meeting planned Monday on Balfour

The collaboration between Spokane Valley and the Spokane County Library District to create a new library and expand a park across from the old University City Mall is going strong, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone told the City Council on Tuesday.

A steering committee has been created with representatives of the district, the city and the community. A public meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Monday at the Spokane Valley Library, 10024 E. Main Ave., to hear from people what they’d like to see in the park. Stone said he has mailed postcards announcing the meeting to residents living between Argonne and Pines roads, north of 16th Avenue and south of Mission Avenue.

“We’re starting to get emails and phone calls with specific ideas and specific concerns,” he said. “Obviously this is going to heavily impact that area and we want to hear from people who live and work in that area.”

More public meetings are planned May 20 and Sept. 12 to refine the plan to expand Balfour Park. A design should be ready by Nov. 1, Stone said. “This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity for our community to put something like this together.”

Councilman Dean Grafos questioned why the postcards were sent to a limited number of households since the project will benefit the entire city. “I personally think the mailing should go out to more people,” he said.

Stone said it’s simply too expensive to do a mass mailing to every city resident and the city has never done that before, no matter what kind of project it was. The meeting has been well publicized by the city and the library district, he said.

In other business, the council unanimously approved a contract to create a final design for a decant facility. The facility will allow the city to process waste vacuumed from the city’s drywells and remove the water before hauling what is left to the dump. Currently, wood chips are added to each load of waste to soak up water. It then sits overnight before being hauled away. Having the facility will allow the city to clean more drywells each day.

The facility will be built on land owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation on the north side of Interstate 90 near the Pines on-ramp. Public Works Director Eric Guth said some changes were made to the proposal to cut costs, including reducing the number of bays from 10 to eight. “We had to scale back the project somewhat,” he said. “We feel we have a good project in the end.”

Another item removed from the proposed facility was an enclosed winter decant building; the foundation for the building will be built now so it can be added later if funding allows, Guth said.

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