For the second time in four months, Spokane Valley has gotten a major land donation for parks and trails.
On Tuesday, Spokane Valley City Council accepted 3.5 acres of property from the Avista Corp. The land is near the Spokane River at Trent Avenue and valued at just under $800,000. Avista’s donation comes after the city in December received a 24.5-acre donation for future park development from retired developer Ken Tupper.
The Avista donation has a dual benefit for Spokane Valley.
First, it’ll help the city with a massive transportation infrastructure improvement.
A small portion of the land is needed for the city’s Pines Road grade separation project, a $34 million endeavor that will create an underpass, taking drivers beneath the railroad tracks and eliminating train crossing delays.
There’s an intangible benefit to the donation too. When cities or counties undertake massive infrastructure projects, they typically need hefty financial assistance from the state or federal government. To get that state and federal aid, they’ve got to apply for grants.
The odds of winning a grant go up when a project has broad community support. Avista’s donation demonstrates community buy-in for the Pines Road construction, and that buy-in could help the city come up with the $34 million more quickly.
Second, the donation allows the city to create a new Centennial Trail access point.
The new trailhead will include a parking lot, restrooms, an electric vehicle charging station and other amenities.
The 3.5 acres will also be critical if the city ever completes a proposed Spokane River Loop Trail, which would allow people to walk a roughly 10-mile loop along the north and south banks of the river.
Unconnected portions of the proposed trail already exist. Completing the loop would entail connecting those isolated pieces and building pedestrian bridges over the river.
One of those bridges would be at Trent Avenue, just a few feet north of the newly donated Avista property.
A trail user could start the loop by parking at the now-vacant 3.5 acres.
They could head north across the pedestrian bridge. From there, they could turn left to the west toward Plante’s Ferry Park, or they could turn east along the northern riverbank, which would take them past Kaiser Aluminum and Sullivan Park.
They’d eventually hit the easternmost limit of the trail between Flora Road and Barker Avenue. There’s a 46-acre piece of land there that Spokane Valley bought in 2020 for more than $2 million. The city plans to turn that undeveloped property into a park.
Another pedestrian bridge would connect that future park property to the southern bank of the river. The trail user could then begin the return journey west, passing the Spokane Valley Mall and Mirabeau Park before arriving at the Centennial Trail parking lot where they started.
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