A year ago, this space in the center of Greenacres was just another alfalfa field. Today, it is being transformed into a unique greenspace that many say will be the pride of the community.
Mary Pollard has lived in the Greenacres neighborhood for the past 20 years. Back in 2004, she was part of a grassroots effort involving an areawide rezone that included neighborhood committees representing topics like transportation, livestock and the city’s comprehensive plan. One of the groups also researched the idea of establishing a local park.
Historically, Greenacres residents had to make a drive east (Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake) or west (Sullivan Park in Spokane Valley) to access a community greenspace. When discussion began about a potential site in Greenacres, residents brought up features they appreciated about Pavillion Park like the ampitheater that paid homage to the area’s history as a lakeside resort town.
Mike Terrell was working as a landscape architect for Greenstone Properties at the time. In addition to designing half-a-dozen parks in the Tri-Cities, Terrell served as a consultant in the construction of Pavillion Park. In 2007, after the city approved the purchase of a land parcel in Greenacres, Pollard and other Greenacres residents began discussing details of the park with Terrell at a series of community meetings.
“The goal was to create a sense of place in this park that was unique to this neighborhood,” Terrell said.
Pollard, Kurt Parker, Pete Miller and dozens of other Greenacres residents continued to rally neighbors in support of the park. Surveys and meetings gathered feedback requesting features that would reflect the area’s farming and railroad history while providing recreational opportunities in a safe and reliable venue.
“Having a park helps us to understand community,” Pollard said. “This has been a very collaborative process with tremendous dedication on all sides.”
Last July, the Spokane Valley City Council approved additional funding for the first phase of the 8.3-acre park. Mike Stone, Spokane Valley parks director, made it clear to the governing board that the city was in jeopardy of losing $200,000 of a $500,000 state grant if construction did not go forward in the near future. The council eventually voted in support of transferring $200,000 from a civic facilities fund toward building costs. The balance of the park’s $1.58 million pricetag would be covered from the parks capital fund, which sat at a reserve of $1.3 million last year.
Work on the site began before spring with the perimeter roads surrounding the park being repaved. Power lines were also moved underground, allowing for the planting of trees around the park’s edge. Terrell said the space will eventually feature up to 200 trees, including maples, oaks, horse chestnut and beech trees.
After the roadwork came basic infrastructure such as irrigation and grading. The concrete foundation for the main picnic shelter has also been installed and Terrell said the structure should be in place by the middle part of this month. The grassy area around the shelter will include a slight slope, creating the aura of a small ampitheater. Terrell said he could foresee concerts with a scaled down orchestra or a jazz ensemble entertaining in the space.
While features like a basketball court, community garden and tennis court will be part of future phase of the park, the current site does include two multipurpose sports fields, smaller picnic shelter, kids’ playground, a disc golf course and ambling path. Odes to the agricultural history of the area are also evident, with more on the way.
Pollard said the community hopes to host a July 4 celebration and parade next year at the park. She also mentioned the possibility of a farmers market and a series of “free community events” here.
Most of the park should be ready by mid-October, according to city officials. Stone said an official grand opening will likely take place next spring.
“This is a wonderful success story,” Pollard said. “I’m just so proud of our community.”