Attendance was sparse at a special public meeting Wednesday on the future of parks in Spokane Valley, but there was no shortage of ideas.
Those who attended the meeting were asked about possible locations for new parks, and what amenities those parks should include. Participants were also asked where they might like to see an off-leash dog park, a skate park and splash pads.
Justin Toney, Jeff Crum and Casey Bancroft, representing the Disc Golf Uprising group, spent several minutes marking up a large map of the city with indications about where they would like to see disc golf courses installed. Sullivan Park and Plantes Ferry Park would be great locations, Crum said. “It’s one of the fastest growing sports right now,” he said.
Spokane Valley did include a disc golf course in Greenacres Park, but it is designed for novices. Bancroft said he doesn’t find the course challenging, except for the one basket that is positioned too close to the playground.
Attention then turned to new parks, with dots placed in neighborhoods where parks might be needed. “There should be a community park off (south) Sullivan Road,” Toney said. “There’s all that development there.”
Wednesday night’s exercise was part of the city’s efforts to update its Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
In the past few years the city has added Discovery Playground and Greenacres Park to its inventory. The city appears to need more neighborhood parks, said Bill Grimes of Studio Cascade, the company assisting with the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update. “It’s not always easy to take your 4-year-old and walk to the park,” he said.
School facilities help fill the void by providing play fields and playground equipment, but the public doesn’t have unlimited access, Grimes said. “In many ways, schools are functioning as neighborhood parks,” he said.
The city recently completed a telephone survey of 360 residents to ask about the city’s parks. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.15 percentage points.
The results peg Mirabeau Point Park as most visited by residents, with 48 percent of respondents saying they have visited it. Valley Mission Park came in second, followed by CenterPlace and Terrace View Park.
Respondents were asked what they liked about the city’s parks and 64 percent indicated they liked that the facilities were clean and well maintained. “People appreciate the level of care, the level of maintenance that the city provides,” Grimes said.
When asked what new amenities they would like to see, the top answer was urban trails, followed closely by splash pads, outdoor aquatic facilities and indoor recreation facilities. A skate park and an off-leash dog park ranked near the bottom.
Another public meeting on the master plan update is planned for March but has not yet been scheduled.