Most of the water in the Mirror Pond of Manito Park has been drained, leaving behind a bright green scum floating on top of what’s left. Ducks swim through it, kicking up a trail of brown sediment as they paddle across.
It may not be pretty now, but Friends of Manito and the city of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department are working to change that. Fondly known as the “duck pond,” the Mirror Pond is getting an upgrade.
Horticulture Supervisor Steve Nittolo said the project is the first of several phases to a much larger project, which should take a couple of years to complete.
The current project includes landscaping and shoreline improvements and an auto-fill system to help maintain water levels.
“It’s going to look a lot better out there,” Nittolo said.
Work crews drained much of the pond to install the basalt boulders along the edge. They left some water to preserve the fish and turtles. Nittolo said the boulder wall will help protect against soil erosion around the pond and will be aesthetically pleasing. There will be new bushes and shrubs along a new walkway, which will be ADA accessible. The walkway will be gravel for now, and Nittolo hopes it will be paved in the future.
“The grass was a problem,” he said. Visitors would walk along the shore, wearing the grass down and eroding the shoreline. The trees and bushes should help improve some of the habitats of wildlife while making it less attractive to geese.
The auto-fill system will add water to the pond as needed and will shut itself off before the pond overflows. The Washington state Department of Ecology awarded a grant of a little more than $30,000 for the system, design and installation.
“This is just to make up water,” Nittolo said. The Friends of Manito have been discussing the pond with a lake management specialist about the water quality. Adding plants and reinforcing the shoreline should also help with the quality.
Last year the Friends put in aquatic plants and terraces, and Nittolo said there are plans for adding more plants to make the area more gardenlike. Ponderosa pines will be planted along the eastern shore of the pond. He hopes there will be signs in the future describing the plantlife.
“It’s going to bring it up to the level of the gardens of Manito,” he said.
Work began on the project Sept. 2 and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31. Once completed, the pond will be refilled. The Friends of Manito contributed about $51,000 for the project, and the parks and recreations capital fund matched that amount.
RRACO Inc. is the contractor and Land Expressions LLC was the designer.
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