Work began this week on the first stretch of what Spokane Valley city leaders hope will become a network of suburban parks and pathways.
The new Appleway Trail, being built along the old Milwaukee Road rail right-of-way south of Sprague Avenue, will carry bicyclists and pedestrians through the heart of the Valley and eventually link up with Liberty Lake’s municipal trail system. The first phase is a mile-long portion between University and Pines roads and is expected to be open by the end of the year.
“One of our top priorities is to build a city that attracts jobs and families, offers affordable residential options, and provides amenities that enhance livability,” Mayor Dean Grafos said in prepared remarks. “This new key piece of infrastructure adds to a well-planned park system along with accessible bike and pedestrian opportunities.”
Estimated cost of the first section, which will include benches, lighting, landscape irrigation and drinking fountains, has edged up to $1.4 million. The city has received a grant for nearly $643,000 and will receive $1 million in 2017 from the Spokane Regional Transportation Council for the project. The next phase would extend the trail to Evergreen Road.
The new trail will feature a plaza at the western entrance that includes seating, a drinking fountain and landscaping. Plans for future sections call for picnic and gathering areas, community garden spaces, a mountain bike trail and exercise stations.
City leaders hope the Valley will eventually have a network of suburban pathways enabling bicyclists, in-line skaters and others to avoid competing with automobiles while getting throughout the city. The plan calls for 12-foot paved pathways similar to the Centennial Trail, which already crosses the Valley along the Spokane River.
Earlier this week, crews from Spokane Valley-based L&L Cargile Inc. began the earthworks portion of the trail’s development. They are shaping and preparing the site for construction of the trail and amenities, which will be handled in a separate contract. Trail pavement is expected to begin by late September or early October, according to the city.
Grafos and others said the city’s development of the new trail is part of a collaboration with Spokane County, which owns the former railroad right-of-way.