A draft of a new master plan for Coeur d’Alene Park seeks to blend its historic character with the needs of modern park users.
Approval of the plan is expected this fall by the Spokane Park Board, in time for the park’s 125th anniversary in 2016. Festivities are being organized by the Friends of Coeur d’Alene Park.
The Land Committee of the Park Board is studying details of the plan and is expected to make a recommendation to the full board in coming weeks.
At 9.78 acres, the park covers the equivalent of four city blocks and was built at the dividing point between Browne’s Addition and Cannon’s Addition to the south.
Both additions were early-day residential developments that relied on the park as an attraction for new residents, many of whom were among the wealthiest people in the city in the late 1800s.
“The park has endured ups and downs, disrepair, vandalism and restoration. As an extension of the recent restoration of the park’s bandstand, renewal efforts speak to the park’s enduring value to Browne’s Addition residents of all ages,” according to the plan’s executive summary.
Coeur d’Alene Park “is a deeply sentimental and symbolically important place in the hearts of the surrounding residents,” the draft plan said.
The draft plan was written with extensive citizen participation, said Julie Biggerstaff, co-chair of the Friends of Coeur d’Alene Park.
It contains about a dozen specific recommendations.
New main entryways would be framed by low rock walls, which could be used to tell the history of the park.
A perimeter walk with exercise stations is also recommended.
An east-west greenway running through the heart of the park and on Third Avenue would connect the park to Overlook Park on the west and downtown Spokane to the east.
The existing stands of ponderosa pine would be thinned to make room for the perimeter exercise path and the east-west greenway.
Reducing the pine tree canopy would be consistent with the park’s early-day look and provide more sun for flower beds. Thinning of pines to make room for diverse plantings was among the recommendations from Spokane’s first comprehensive park plan, prepared by the Olmsted Brothers, of Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1908.
New landscaping and patio areas would be added to the gazebo area.
Play features would be organized along the southern side of the park.
Picnic tables and grills are recommended under the pines. They would be accompanied by new park furnishings and lighting.
Improvements proposed for nearby Overlook Park include new landscaping to remove screening that allows transients to inhabit portions of the linear park, which overlooks Latah Creek.
A fundraising dinner for the Friends of Coeur d’Alene Park is planned for Nov. 7 at the Patsy Clark Mansion across Second Avenue from the park. To attend the dinner, go to friendsofcdapark.org and request an invitation by email.
Several celebrations are also in the works for the 125th anniversary.