While Spokane Valley City Council members were all smiles and posing for pictures last week for the dedication of the new Gateway Sign on the city’s west end, not far to the east on Appleway things look a bit…shabbier.
But on Tuesday night, the majority of the council agreed it might be time to spend some money to start making things look a bit nicer on the city’s main eastbound arterial.
While the money would still need to be found in the city’s budget, the council is largely agreeable to spending $209,310 for landscaping and other improvements to Appleway Boulevard between Dora and Park roads that would largely mirror work that has already been done in that area on Sprague Avenue.
“Right now, this is mimicking what we did on Sprague,” said Eric Guth, public works director.
Two other phases of the project would see similar work – the addition of grass and trees and possible stormwater swale improvements – from Park to University Road are also being considered, however the price tag for each subsequent stage is considerably higher and would likely require some grant funding. Phase 2, from Park to Dishman-Mica Road, is estimated at $1.8 million, said Guth, while Dishman-Mica to University is projected to be $1.6 million.
Maintenance for the entire improved stretch, if completed, would be about $80,000 a year.
Council Member Chuck Hafner said he would like the city to begin work on at least the first section.
“I like what staff has done,” Hafner said. “This is the entrance to our city, and I think we need to begin somewhere.”
Mayor Tom Towey also expressed interest in completing Phase 1, but wants to be cautious after that.
“I like the project,” he said. “My concern is, after Phase 1 and we get that complete, where do we get the money (for the rest)? Where do these funds come from?”
Council Member Dean Grafos said a funding source can be found later, but the entire Appleway landscaping project should at least be in the planning stages to be done sometime.
“Phase 1, I agree, should be done right away,” he said. “We’re seeing redevelopment of that corridor. I’m all for this project.”
Council Member Ben Wick said, while a good idea, he would like to see how the project would fit in with other possible expenditures the city is considering in the near future like a potential new city hall or the Sullivan Road Bridge replacement.
“I’d like to come up with a plan and see where it fits with other projects this year,” he said.
City Manager Mike Jackson said the council will be presented with a motion consideration for at least the first phase, but nothing would be added that would commit the city to funding the future phases beyond Park Road.
Grafos, however, reiterated that all phases should at least be part of the overall plan.
“I’m not saying that we do it tomorrow,” he said, adding that those looking to open businesses on Appleway will want to know the city’s intentions. “I’m talking about a design plan for the whole corridor.”
Hafner said the focus should be on the first section for now.
“What I don’t want to happen is that we get so bogged down on design that we forget about Phase 1,” he said.
Towey said that the subject will be discussed at the council’s daylong budget retreat scheduled for June 18.