September 14, 2013 in Washington Voices

City unveils Balfour design

Tents, poles and flags mark locations of amenities for library, park expansion
By The Spokesman-Review
Tyler Tjomsland photoBuy this photo

Spokane Valley branch librarian Sonia Gustafson stands near the Little Free Library.
(Full-size photo)

Little Free Library

 A Little Free Library has been added to the future site of a library and expanded park at Sprague Avenue and Herald Road.

 The library, essentially a wooden box on a pole, was installed Thursday on the southwest corner of the site facing Sprague and is already stocked with books.

 Titles range from a Nancy Drew mystery to a Dean Koontz novel. People are invited to take a free book.

 When they’re done reading it they can keep it, bring it back or bring a different book to the Little Free Library for others to enjoy.

 The Balfour Park Little Free Library No. 8088 is run by the Friends of the Spokane Valley Library. Little Free Library locations are listed at

Community members came to Balfour Park on Thursday to see the final plan for the park expansion they helped design.

Judging by the comments at the final community meeting, the efforts at Balfour Park have been a success.

“You guys included a lot of what everybody thought,” resident Meg Kreiner told a representative of the Spokane County Library District. “This is great.”

Valley officials had previously held community meetings to seek input on features and designs for the park, a process similar to the one used when Greenacres Park was designed. Greenacres was completed 2011.

The city of Spokane Valley purchased the 8-acre site at Sprague Avenue and Herald Road to expand Balfour Park last year. It is partnering with the Spokane County Library District to put a new library on the site that would replace the aging Spokane Valley branch just a few blocks away on Main Avenue.

On Thursday people had the opportunity to walk the site, where pink tape tied to wooden stakes outlined the footprint of the new library. Balloons and small tents marked the location of features such as the stage, picnic shelter, public art and splash pad. “We thought we’d try a novel approach and let people walk the site,” said Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Stone.

Stone said a final design and a cost estimate for the park expansion will be presented to the City Council by the end of October.

Kreiner said she has wanted Balfour Park expanded for the last 20 years. “All these walking trails will be great,” she said. “This is going to be so nice when it’s done. I can hardly wait.”

Carol Taylor has lived nearby on Herald Road for the past 16 years and is also pleased to see a park come to the vacant property. “I think it’s a wonderful addition,” she said. “I’ve wanted something to be done on this land for a long time.”

A frequent library user, she also looks forward to walking down the street to check out books. “I think it’s wonderful,” she said.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email