May 25, 2013 in Washington Voices

Balfour Park expansion options laid out

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Inside

A map showing possible future development of expanded Balfour Park and the library and features is on Page 6.

Comment

The three potential designs and a survey are posted online at www.spokanevalley.org under Parks and Recreation and at www.scld.lib.wa.us. A community meeting to present the final draft plan is planned for September.

Three potential designs for the Balfour Park expansion were presented at a community meeting Monday.

The plans were based on comments collected during a previous public meeting. They included different shapes and locations for a proposed new library and different amenities and layouts for the park. “We want to have that interaction between the indoor space and the outdoor spaces,” said landscape architect William LaRue Jr.

People at the meeting were asked to complete questionnaires about the designs and their preferences.

Option A features a library with angled walls on the southwest corner of the property at Sprague Avenue and Herald Road. The rest of the park would have open space, an amphitheater, a plaza for a farmers market, a reading garden, a veterans memorial, a picnic shelter and a new splash pad near the existing playground equipment.

Option B also locates the library in the southwest corner, but it’s closer to Sprague and the building is square. This option includes more green space and fewer amenities, although there was room for a splash pad, a picnic shelter and a public market.

Option C puts the library in the northwest corner and includes a skate park, a large plaza and a lot of berms for informal seating.

“The next time you come back, we’ll know what you like and we can narrow it down to one (design),” LaRue said.

Jan Hobbs was critical of the skate park in Option C, concerned that it would attract graffiti and crime to the neighborhood. “The other thing that concerns me is parking right off of Sprague,” Hobbs said. “I think that could be disastrous.” She said she preferred the design of Option B.

Mike Adams said he preferred Option A. “I like how it’s organized,” he said. “Parking doesn’t interfere with the neighborhood as much.”

He also liked that the library was somewhat angled to allow a lot of views into the park. “I like the building,” he said. “They gave it an interesting twist.”

The library design in Option A also drew a favorable vote from Spokane County Library District director Nancy Ledeboer. “That shape allows people to have a lot of interaction with the park,” she said. “It’s so much nicer to look out at green space.”

Her least favorite suggested location for the library was in Option B. “We’re surrounded by cars on three sides,” she said.

Based on the surveys turned in by people at Monday’s meeting, the community favorite seems to be Option A, said Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone. “They liked the interaction of features with the library and in particular the plaza area that could be used for a variety of activities,” he said. “There were parts of concepts B and C that had support as well. I suspect that concept A will be modified to include elements or features shown in concepts B and C.”

The city and library district are accepting public input on the three designs until June 7. The designs and the survey are online at www.spokanevalley.org under Parks and Recreation and at www.scld.lib.wa.us. A community meeting to present the final draft plan is planned for September.

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