A section of land near Saltese Flats holds special memories for former Spokane Valley City Councilman Bill Gothmann, many of them of his late wife Myrna.
The land is now a city park in her name.
Spokane Valley city officials unveiled a plaque dedicating Myrna Park, located at 22310 Saltese Lake Road, at a Thursday morning ceremony.
Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins said the park, the first outside city limits, offers possibilities for future amenities while continuing to be a wildlife habitat.
“By this gift, Myrna will be remembered for years into the future,” Higgins said. “This is an indeed beautiful way to honor Myrna and her legacy. Bill’s thoughtfulness and generosity are greatly appreciated.”
Myrna, described as a pillar of the community, died this year. She married Bill in 1955 and was an elementary school teacher in the Central Valley School District for 19 years before retiring in 2000.
Myrna acquired the 11 acres of land from her family several years ago, and the couple often visited the property to enjoy views of abundant wildlife and the Saltese Flats.
Gothmann donated the land to the city in May to honor Myrna’s memory and provide residents with parkland to hike, ride bicycles and picnic.
Gothmann said the land will serve its new purpose well, with Quinnamose Creek traversing the north section of the property, plentiful forest land and a road south of the creek providing a walking path.
He said the property also has historical significance. Coeur d’Alene tribal leader Chief Seltice once resided in the area, as did Chief Quinnamose, a subchief of the Coeur d’Alene tribe.
“I think it’s a beautiful hunk of land,” Gothmann said. “I just love to walk through it.”
Gothmann, who served two terms on the City Council, was instrumental in launching the annual Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration – an event with 10-, 25- and 50-mile bicycle rides.
Myrna Gothmann operated a comfort station on the property every year, providing bicyclists with a resting point to obtain shade and refreshments along a route that passes by the Saltese Uplands Conservation Area.
After Myrna’s death in February, Gothmann said he was shuffling around in a storage room and came across a package that read, “Cycle Celebration 2018.”
“Myrna had gone down (to the storage room), knowing she was on a path to passing away, and she tried to put everything in order,” he said. “Cycle Celebration occurs in July. She had prepared a package of goods needed for the celebration. When I saw that, I just smiled. This woman was something else.”
Higgins said the city will continue to use Myrna Park as a rest stop along the Cycle Celebration loop.
Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone said Myrna Park is a wonderful piece of property that will make a great addition to the city’s park system.
“There are many things that can take place here and we are excited to explore those over the next several years,” he said.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter