The pages of a storybook have been laid out for all to read in a new Story Walk in Liberty Lake’s Rocky Hill Park. The pages are displayed two at a time in waterproof display cases on top of a row of low stands along a curving path that runs along the eastern edge of the park.
The Story Walk, which was installed by the Liberty Lake Parks and Arts Commission, was unveiled during a ceremony Friday. The blustery weather didn’t deter a small crowd from gathering in the park, at 24901 E. Mission Ave., to check out the new installation.
Commission vice chairman David Himbaugh said the idea of a Story Walk, which was created by a woman in Vermont, is to promote physical activity and literacy while also including nature.
The 20 stands in the Story Walk, which are at a low height so they can be easily read by young children, were designed and constructed by students in the advanced manufacturing and engineering physics class at Spokane Valley Tech. Teacher Mark Bitz, who oversaw the students, said he believes students learn best by doing.
“There’s nothing better than taking on a project of this magnitude,” Bitz said.
The students put in months of work on the project, Bitz said, even coming in during their summer vacation to finish it.
Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson said he loves the project and would like to see more Story Walks in the city’s Orchard Park and Pavillion Park. “It’s not just a box, it’s the content,” Peterson said. “You gave us a stage to present a story.”
The Story Walk also involved the Liberty Lake Library and was first proposed under former director Pamela Mogen, who helped select the books to be used in the project. “Pamela brought the idea to the Parks and Arts Commission,” said library director Jocelyn Redel.
Four children’s books were picked to be featured and the stories will be rotated every few months. The book on display is “All the World” and the other books picked for the project are “Run Wild,” “Sleeping Through Winter” and “Like a Duck Does.” As time goes on new books will be selected to add to the rotation, Redel said.
The Story Walk requires two copies of each book, which are taken apart so the pages can be displayed in pairs. Redel said she had the pages laminated to protect them from any leaks in the weatherproof boxes.
The Friends of the Liberty Lake Library received a bequest from the estate of longtime Liberty Lake resident Margaret “Peg” Keeve, who died in 2016, that was used to purchase the books for the project. Keeve was an avid reader and was involved in the community, often attending City Council meetings. Peterson said it was fitting that the Story Walk is dedicated in her name.
“This speaks for Peg, as a memorial to the community,” he said.
Himbaugh said the four books were picked because of their extensive artwork, which makes it easier for families to read as they walk. “The whole idea is more pictures, less words,” he said. “You have a quick flow.”
The book starts on the northern edge of the park and is laid out from left to right, just like a book. Himbaugh said he’s pleased with the sturdy boxes the Spokane Valley Tech students built to house the book pages and said they’re much better than other Story Walk stands he’s seen.
“We wanted to do something that would last,” he said.
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