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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley looking for community suggestions on Spokane Horse Arena area that will be turned into park

The city of Spokane Valley could soon replace an old horse arena with a skate park, bicycle track or amphitheater, depending on feedback at a public meeting about the new space Wednesday.

The city obtained the horse arena from the county after the city was incorporated in 2003. Spokane Valley Parks Director Mike Stone said use of the facility declined over the years and it hasn’t been rented out since 2013.

The city demolished the structure in September and is looking for feedback from the public on what should be built in its stead.

The Horse Arena is located in Valley Mission Park, between the dog park and I-90.

Stone said if the city staff gets enough feedback and ideas from the public, park staff will put them into a plan that they would present to the city council before the end of the year for approval. Once approved, they will look at costs, grants and other funding.

At a sparsely attended virtual meeting last week, an architecture firm presented several ideas, including an amphitheater, a bicycle track or skate park, walking areas, a picnic shelter and an all-ages exercise area. Stone said the city was not necessarily committed to those ideas, however, and would consider feedback and other proposals from the public.

“At this point everything’s on the table and we hope we get a little better turnout next week and consistent consensus,” he said.

He said a few of the basic concepts they have been heavily considering for the area were inspired by the city’s park master plan process last year. According to the Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Master Plan update document, the community agreed it wanted new parkland, accessible park spaces and improvements to existing parks.

Stone said the parks department was considering a second parking lot, which could be used to access that half of the park .

He said people should keep in mind the location of the land when providing feedback. It is next to a busy highway. He said a concrete wall or vegetation may dampen the noise but it could affect some types of activity , such as a music venue or amphitheater.

He said if few people attend the virtual meeting Wednesday night, he may delay presenting park ideas to the city council until in-person meetings are allowed to make sure the public supports park improvements.

“If we don’t feel like we’ve got a good direction, we probably will not move this forward to the council,” he said. “We’ll have additional meetings, or wait until we can meet in person. We don’t want to come forward with something we think the public might not support.”

The Park Open House will be on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. and people can attend via Zoom.

To participate, members of the public will need to email conference@spvv.com and they will receive a participation link and login information.

Stone said members of the public can also email questions or suggestions for the new park space directly by sending a message to mstone@spokanevalley.org.

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