The stage is set. The actors are ready.
The only thing missing?
On July 12, the Spokane Park Board approved a Palisades Park acquisition resolution allowing park staff to consider eventually owning and managing land north of Palisades Park. It also gives city park staff permission to pursue funding for the acquisition working in conjunction with the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy.
The land, if purchased, would connect city parkland to Riverside State Park, said Dave Schaub, the executive director for INLC.
“The park is actually tantalizing close to Riverside State Park and there is a fair amount of trespass that is (already) done to make the connection,” he said.
The purchase of that land would make an 11-mile contiguous “habitat and trail corridor” Schaub said. There are between 80 and 120 acres of private land between the two parks. Although the parks department would eventually own and manage the land the city will not buy the land, Schaub said.
“It was not considered because their capital budget is basically depleted with the recent acquisition on the bluff,” he said.
Schaub is now searching for ways to fund the purchase. Sources could include conservation futures funding, private donations or grants.
The park board resolution does not necessarily mean the Parks Department will own and manage the land, which is outside of the city boundary. But it did signal to Schaub and others that the city supports the project.
“It gives us the confidence and the authority to go out and fundraise for the project,” he said.
Parks Director Leroy Eadie emphasized that the resolution was “not an absolute commitment to acquisition.” But, like Schaub, it signals the boards’ approval.
“I think really what it does is set the stage for us to continue to work together to find funding,” he said.
The properties north of Palisades Park fit nicely into the Parks Department’s overall goal of “closing gaps and making connections” in city parkland, Eadie said.
Because the land would connect with Riverside State Park, Eadie said it’s included in the Washington State Parks boundary reassessment plan. Parkland would likely connect to Riverside State Park via a bridge.
The project received a boost from the west Spokane neighborhood organization known as Palisades. Palisades has supported the project, donating time and money toward the maintenance and upkeep of Palisades Park.
That kind of community support and buy-in is key in the completion of projects like this, Schaub said. That support was evident at the park board meeting.
“It was actually a cool park board meeting because the chamber erupted in applause when it was approved,” Schaub said.
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