Spokane Valley has a museum and a series of history books written about it. But the city has not done too much in the way of historical preservation of its sites and structures of significance.
That could change, however, if efforts are made to develop an in-house historic-preservation program in the city of Spokane Valley. Or if the municipality opts to partner with an amenable colleague, such as the city of Spokane.
Mike Basinger, senior planner for Spokane Valley, laid out some of the options available to the City Council at Tuesday’s study session.
“The state does not require a historic preservations component to local comprehensive plans,” Basinger said, which might factor into why so little attention has been given to the subject in Spokane Valley. “So far, there’s been little interest in historic preservation in our city.”
Local interest, however, is key to securing state grant dollars for preservation projects, Basinger added.
Council Member Dean Grafos suggested the city compile a list of potentially viable buildings or sites, such as the rock structure that houses Vera Water and Power. Other locations – like the Opportunity Township Hall, which houses the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum – are recognized nationally for their historic value but not locally.
Council Member Ben Wick asked if the city would have to hire additional staff if the city didn’t partner with Spokane, which handles Spokane County’s historical preservation through a partnership. Basinger said it would be possible, but the workload would be less than Spokane’s.
Council Member Rod Higgins suggested there could be a private organization willing to take on the challenge.
“We are a contract city,” he said.
Additional information will be presented at a future council meeting.