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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Peaceful Valley residents want to preserve neighborhood’s ‘historic and colorful’ character

Few neighborhoods in Spokane are named with perfect description. Grandview-Thorpe does have a view that’s grand. Riverside is next to the river, but most call it downtown.

Peaceful Valley, however, gets to the point.

Just west of downtown, the quiet neighborhood sits basically at river level, far below the towering span of the Maple Street Bridge. The homes are small and the community close knit. It’s basically Spokane’s version of the Shire in “Lord of the Rings.”

So it’s no surprise neighborhood leaders have unveiled a 20-year plan that aims to protect the “historic and colorful neighborhood, nestled along the river and forest … in a safe, serene, and walkable setting.”

The Spokane City Council recently voted 7-0 in support of neighborhood’s action plan, which focuses on preserving access to parks and transportation, improving the look and safety of its streets, conserving its natural setting, protecting the neighborhood’s charm and improving its public spaces.

“This is about how each unique neighborhood gets their input on how they develop,” said Council President Ben Stuckart about the plan. “We’re a large community made up of smaller neighborhoods. … It’s what makes us great as a town.”

The neighborhood’s priority projects include improved neighborhood entrances, new street signs, street trees and more traffic calming infrastructure such as narrowing the street, extending curbs and improving the markings of crosswalks.

The construction of a new river trail already has started and eventually will be part of a 3-mile “gorge loop” that will connect the neighborhood with Riverfront Park and Kendall Yards. The plan prioritizes signs helping visitors find the trail and construction of public restrooms at Glover Field and People’s Park near Sandifur Bridge.

Peaceful Valley neighborhood leaders also want to find a long-term solution to keep its community center open and maintain it as a “gathering place.”

Lastly, the neighborhood put preserving its historic character at the top of its list. Indigenous people called Peaceful Valley home long before European descendants came to the river’s edge. During the city’s early days, Finnish residents claimed the valley as home. Now, a majority of the homes date from the turn of the early 20th century, and the Spokane Tribe maintains a cultural presence.

Funding for the plan came from a 2007 City Council allocation giving nearly every Spokane neighborhood $21,150 such planning.

Seven neighborhood plans have yet to be completed. Plans for West Hills and Chief Garry Park are in the works. The South Hill Coalition had five neighborhoods that built a plan together. Hillyard’s three neighborhoods also jointly planned.

The action plans will help guide development in the neighborhoods in coming years. The plans do not direct or commit city funding to any projects, but will be considered when funding for such projects becomes available.

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