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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Parks conducting online survey to get public comments on city’s parks system

Spokane parks users have until late Monday night to help define the system’s needs for the next decade.

A confidential online survey available at spokaneparksmasterplan.org will run through the beginning of next week, the first in a series of steps intended to guide the department’s work following completion of Riverfront Park’s $64 million renovation.

“It’s been since 2010 that we did a big, systemwide evaluation,” said Nick Hamad, acting park planning and development manager for the department. “Since then we’ve done Riverfront, and we’ve had all our eggs in that basket.”

The 33-question survey includes specific questions related to maintenance of current properties, what could be added to make them better and feedback on existing and potential future programming in the system. Park officials hope to gather feedback not just on the parks themselves, but services provided in those parks, Hamad said. They also want to know if the system, which operates on a budget that must equal 8% of the city’s spending, needs to be expanded.

“It could give us guidelines for a future bond or a future investment in our system,” Hamad said. “What we just don’t know yet, is if we should be spending money to build new things, maintaining what we have, or focus on providing free programs and not build anything.”

The results of the online survey, which will be paired with the responses of a targeted mail questionnaire sent to 4,000 homes in Spokane as well as responses at pop-up events around town this summer, will be used to draft a new master plan for Spokane parks. The department hopes to draft that plan for Park Board review sometime early in 2022.

Such a plan is needed to obtain grant funding from the state, Hamad said. Recent grant-funded projects include the renovation of Don Kardong Bridge and money used to support amenities at the Ice Age Floods playground in Riverfront Park. The plan will also continue a tradition of guiding documents that dates back to a 1908 plan prepared by the famed landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers.

The online survey had received about 3,100 responses as of Tuesday afternoon, Hamad said. The department originally set a goal of about 5,000 responses, which will be supplemented by public workshops to be held this fall. To complete the planning work, the parks department has contracted with Design Workshop Inc., a landscape architecture firm with offices throughout the United States. The department is paying $240,000 for the work.

“The title of this project is ‘Preserve and Play,’ ” Hamad said. “We want to preserve the legacy of Spokane parks and find the next way you want to play.”

The survey closes at 10 p.m. Monday.

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