The picture of what an expanded Balfour Park on Sprague Avenue, complete with a brand-new Spokane Valley Library, got a little clearer at Tuesday night’s work session of the City Council.
Plans for an angular, north/south-oriented library on the property’s west side at Herald Road were the most popular based on comments gathered from previous public meetings. The park itself would have ample open space, an amphitheater that could accommodate up to 300, a veterans memorial, a reading garden, picnic shelter and the obligatory splash pad, which would be located near the existing playground equipment behind Spokane Valley Fire Station 1.
“It was overwhelmingly the preferred choice,” said Dell Hatch of Bernardo Wills Architects, contracted by the city and Spokane County Library District to come up with the final design.
Parking would be relegated to off of busy one-way Sprague Avenue, with the most spaces to the west on Herald in front of the library. Additional spaces would be situated to the southwest of the existing park adjacent to the fire station.
Everyone seemed pleased with the library design that would include plenty of glass that would have an expansive view of the park.
A bus stop with a nearby water feature would be located on Sprague near the library. The path area could conceivably connect to a pedestrian path across Sprague to the University City area to the south.
Council Member Arne Woodard floated the idea of calming traffic on Sprague by turning it two-way to Herald from University.
“I look at all that parking across the street (at University City). There might be bus storage and overflow parking,” Woodard said. “I’m just wondering if two-way to Herald might take care of some of that.”
Mayor Tom Towey said he was pleased with the amount of work that has been done since the idea was brought before the council last year.
“There was a lot of dialogue and citizen input,” he said. “We’re in the infant stages right now.”
A third and final public meeting on the park/library plans will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the site.