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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

Lurking ‘plan’ threatens to chew up Valley, spit us out

Rose Dempsey

The Sprague Appleway Revitalization Plan is closer and closer. Something akin to the shark in “Jaws.” Dah-dup, dah-dup.

We’ve surveyed. We’ve studied. We’ve opined. We’ve tweaked. And then, for good measure, we’ve done it again and again (dah-dup, dah-dup). Has anybody listened? Does anybody care?

Oh, pooh-pooh. Of course we’ve listened, of course we care. As long as you agree with us. If you happen to be one of those unfortunate benighted souls who disagree with the concept or scope of “the plan,” it can only be your ignorance or intelligence at fault. Any reasonable person can readily see this plan, this SARP, is the solution for all problems in Spokane Valley. Besides that, we’ve spent all this money for it.

Dah-dup, dah-dup, dah-dup.

People laugh and shake their heads at me when I talk about the culture of Spokane Valley. They claim there is no culture of Spokane Valley, that that’s the problem. I beg to differ. Spokane Valley folks are hard-working, down-to-earth people who don’t like to put on airs, nor do they like to be around folks who put on airs. They like the space, they like the sun, they like the sky. They like the freedom to turn around and rejoice in life.

Dah-dup, dah-dup.

I was one of those who participated in an early survey asking if we needed a city center and where might it be located. I responded, “Well, sure. U-City seems to be about central. Why not there?” I wasn’t a “stakeholder,” I didn’t participate in study groups. My bad! When “the plan” was revealed, it took my breath away. This wasn’t the beginning of a good thing. This was the end result of hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, programming our beloved Spokane Valley into a Stepford community. It tries to regiment seven miles of the Sprague-Appleway corridor, making it the same as hundreds of other communities. This was the primary reason I ran for City Council.

“The plan” is outstanding for those who love it and devastating for those who don’t. It reminds me very much of the parents of a 7-year-old child who has expressed an interest in piano lessons. The parents rush out and purchase a brand-new, expensive piano for the child. Too much, too soon. The child is stifled, because he only liked the idea of playing the piano and now feels pressure to achieve concert status; the parents are frustrated because they put out all this money and their child doesn’t appreciate all they they’ve done. Kind of like when the kid wants an ice cream cone and the parents hand it a five-gallon bucket of ice cream.

Dah-dup, dah-dup.

The same goes for “the plan.” The vote is imminent. Will it pass? Probably. Will it be a good thing? Probably not. Will it take away the culture of Spokane Valley? Probably. Will it make us happy? Probably not. Will we learn to live with it? Probably. That’s what we do in Spokane Valley.

The SARP final vote by your City Council is scheduled for June 16. Don’t just sit there. Let your elected officials know whether you love it or hate it or just don’t care.

Rose Dempsey is a Spokane Valley council member.
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