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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Valley commits $4.7 million to Balfour Park project after lengthy delay

After a nearly yearlong delay, Spokane Valley is moving forward with construction on Balfour Park.

The Spokane Valley City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved two Balfour Park construction contracts for a combined $4.7 million.

Today, Balfour Park is a small patch of greenspace directly across from City Hall.

That greenspace sits next to an empty, 5-acre lot, though, and the city plans to turn the entire site into one expanded park with basketball courts, a splash pad and more. The new Spokane Valley Library, scheduled to open this year, is currently under construction at the same location.

Spokane Valley intended to start construction on Balfour Park last spring, but held off after receiving shockingly high bids from contractors.

City staff originally estimated the first phase of the project would cost approximately $3.1 million, but the lowest bid in 2022 came in at $5 million. Contractors said inflation, rising material costs and labor shortages all contributed to the high bids.

“We would not be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money if we moved forward with this at this time,” Spokane Valley City Councilman Tim Hattenburg said in May.

Before going out to bid a second time, the city looked for ways to reduce the overall cost. The landscaping boulders will be smaller this go-around, for instance.

City staff also decided to break the project into two distinct jobs for two separate contractors.

Cameron Reilly will build the main park infrastructure, including water, electric and sewer systems, for $3.8 million. The Public Restroom Company will install a multiuse building for $880,000 that will include bathrooms and a security office for the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Spokane Valley City Councilman Ben Wick acknowledged that the final project cost is still higher than expected, but he pointed out that the $4.7 million figure will pay for several amenities that weren’t included in the $5 million low bid from last spring, including a veterans memorial.

“Costs are just going up everywhere,” he said in an interview.

Spokane Valley City Councilman Arne Woodard said during Tuesday’s meeting that he’s eager to see Balfour Park completed.

“It’s about time we’re finally doing this thing,” Woodard said. “A park is essential to the center part of the city and it serves a lot of people that are in denser housing and whatnot around City Hall.”