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

Liberty Lake Regional Park to remain closed through the summer

The beach at Liberty Lake Regional Park is photographed on April 3, 2024. The county will be making $3.8 million worth of improvements to the park this summer. Including a new dock, restroom and shade structures.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokanites wanting to hike, barbecue or take a dip at Liberty Lake Regional Park this summer will have to look elsewhere.

The park will be closed to day-use until the end of September as the county proceeds with planned improvements to the parking lot and beach area. Construction got underway Monday, more than a month after county staff had hoped the project would begin.

Doug Chase, director of Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf, told county commissioners Tuesday that unexpected delays in construction have pushed the projected completion date to September.

“We had planned to have substantial completion done the first week of June,” Chase said. “We now are literally looking at construction to go through the entire summer.”

County commissioners have dedicated more than $3.8 million to the project, with funding coming from a number of state grants and proceeds from the county’s real estate excise tax. The work that will be completed this summer is the first phase of renovations to the more than 3,500-acre park called for in a 2018 master plan.

Construction will center around the park’s beach area, where crews will install two small shade structures, replace the aging restroom facilities and install a new 177-foot floating dock complete with an accessible kayak launch and designated fishing areas. The county’s plan also includes lighting, landscaping and stormwater improvements.

In addition to the beachfront improvements, the gravel lot where daily visitors park will receive a face-lift. The county has dedicated roughly $700,000 in excise tax proceeds toward paving the lot and associated striping, signage and lighting. The lot’s closure means even those looking to hike the miles of trails at the park and avoid the beach will have nowhere to leave their vehicles.

“I think our visitors are absolutely going to love it with all the new improvements that are slated to occur,” Chase said. “It really is exciting whenever we can renew an existing park that is so heavily visited and enjoyed.”

Only those with reservations at one of the park’s shelters, campgrounds, RV sites or cabins will be able to access the park this summer, Chase said. Reservations can be canceled and fees will be refunded if those visitors decide the construction limitations will negatively impact their stay.

Post Falls-based JR Construction, the same contractor tasked with the park renovations, will begin reconstructing Zephyr Road after completing their work in the parking lots and beach area. The winding, pot-hole riddled road that winds from Lakeside Road to the park’s entrance will be widened from its existing average of 15 to 17 feet to 22 feet.

“We know it will certainly be an inconvenience during this summer,” Chase said. “But again, at the end of the project, it’s really going to be amazing.”