Several bright and shiny Christmas presents were laid out before the Spokane Valley City Council last week. Only problem is, council members will have to figure out a way to pay for them.
At the council’s Dec. 6 meeting, Mike Stone, the city’s parks director reported that a sought-after welcome sign at Sprague and Appleway west of Thierman would cost the city a cool $113,143 for a more elaborate landscaped design or $89,306 for a simpler dryland-grass motif.
Currently, there is no irrigation available to the triangle of city area located just east of the Display House. Lighting would also cost another $5,000 or so, Stone said.
Whatever’s done, the location would have to be maintained, he added. However, there is the possibility of volunteers helping out. The Spokane Valley Arts Council has also indicated that the area could be a future location for public artwork similar to the large feather at the western entrance to the city of Coeur d’Alene.
“Some kind of iconic thing,” said Council Member Arne Woodard, who added that he hoped that volunteers could be utilized to help keep costs down.
“We could do this for considerably less money,” he said. “I think the public would want to help in this project.”
“We’ve heard that loud and clear,” Stone said, adding that even volunteers would need to be supervised by staff. The placing of the sign, also, would have to be done by a private contractor.
More information will be provided to the council at a future meeting.
Later in the meeting, Council Member Dean Grafos championed that the city begin work on three other capital projects besides the gateway sign in 2012:
- Landscaping to Sprague Avenue swales ($630,000 from the stormwater fund)
- Hiring a consultant to move forward with getting more information with establish “quiet zones” at the Santa Fe Railroad crossings at Park and Vista north of Trent Avenue ($80,000)
- Adding landscaping at University and Appleway ($100,000)
While more discussion on the feasibility of the projects and what potential funding is available will be done at the Feb. 7 council retreat at CenterPlace, some council members found the wish list off-putting in light of the continued need for road preservation in Spokane Valley. It’s been estimated that work to preserve city roads would cost anywhere between $4 million and $5 million a year. Right now, only the swales project has a designated pot of money.
“I like Dean’s list, but how do they fit in with street preservation?” asked Council Member Bill Gothmann.
“Street preservation is the number-one goal for me,” said Council Member Chuck Hafner.
Grafos countered that there is no guaranteed sustainable source of funding to do that kind of work.
“This is the time to do these (capital) projects,” he said. “I don’t think we can just sit here. We’ve got businesses who think we’re going to do something with (the Sprague) corridor.”
Hafner asked, “Where does the quiet zone come into that?”
“We can start the process,” Grafos said.