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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Donations Big Part Of Getting Sports Complex Underway

Construction is rolling at the soccer and softball complex at Plante’s Ferry Park.

Crews are in the midst of cutting 25 acres of trees, mostly unhealthy ones. Stump removal and rough grading will come next.

And perhaps best, all of this fall’s work is donated - roughly $250,000 worth, said complex promoter Gib Brumback.

“Yes, we’re under construction and the majority of people don’t know it, and don’t realize this is going to get done,” Brumback said. Out of about $1.2 million needed to build the complex, only $300,000 must still be raised.

An Army Reserve unit will handle the stump removal and rough grading as a community project, said Capt. William Garrison. About 10 to 15 so-called “weekend warriors,” mostly from various parts of Spokane, will tackle the project.

Ponderay Valley Fibre Inc. of Usk, Wash., is harvesting the trees.

Brumback estimated the value of the clearing work at $100,000, and the grading work at more than $150,000.

Wes Blore of Ponderay Valley described the trees as borderline in quality. He also put a lower dollar value on the donation than Brumbeck did, saying the operation amounts to a $15,000 or $20,000 inkind donation. Healthy trees that would add shade or landscaping around the parking lots and concession stand will remain.

The stand of trees, once known as Black’s Tree Farm, was an experimental planting once owned by Inland Empire Paper Co. The trees - Douglas fir, Norway spruce, cottonwood and Scotch and ponderosa pines planted in the 1950s - were never thinned. The site was acquired by the county in 1991.

Neighbors have complained over the years that the site was used for dumping and parties.

The 659th Engineer Company (Construction Support) U.S. Army Reserve expects to start its work next weekend, Garrison said.

“This is our first community project in this area. We’re excited about it,” Garrison said. “When all is said and done, my people will be able to … come back and say, ‘Hey, I did that.”’

Garrison said his unit is able to do community projects, as long as they fit into his training criteria and his resources.

The soccer and softball complex will eventually encompass 14 soccer fields, 2 softball fields, a playground and a spur off the Centennial Trail. It has $500,000 in state and county funding.

The project also has about $300,000 in in-kind contributions, plus $100,000 in cash. Still needed is another $300,000 in cash or in-kind donations, Brumback said.

Next spring, the irrigation work, fine grading and seeding should occur at the site on East Wellesley, said Brumback and Wyn Birkenthal, county parks and recreation director. A 2,000-square-foot concession building with restrooms is to be built next summer. Brumback said he hopes most of the labor and materials for that building will be donated.

He’s also searching for donated use of a large track bulldozer and a scraper this fall. For next spring, he’s got his eye out for a road grader.

The Spokane Valley Junior Soccer Association is also working on several fund-raising approaches: everything from pizza purchases with a percentage going to the soccer complex, to sponsoring a sprinkler head for $100. Or sponsoring a field - which would bear the donor’s name in perpetuity - for $15,000.

Brumback said that donations from “the little guy” have come in more slowly than he hoped. Major tournaments at the completed complex will pour up to $5 million a year into Valley businesses, he estimated.

For more information about the project, call the soccer association at 922-7910. Or to learn about making a major contribution, contact Brumback at 924-3939.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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