Sandy beaches and Spokane Valley, for the most part, have not been historically paired together.
But to hear the supporters of beach volleyball tell it, the sand has really been flying at the city’s Browns Park – and they’d like to see more of it.
“We need a facility,” said Wade Benson, Eastern Washington University volleyball coach, at a City Council public hearing on the topic Tuesday. “We look at Browns Park as a possible rental facility until we get our own at Eastern…if you had (the space) it would be a big deal.”
Right now, Browns Park – located at the northeast corner of Pines Road and 32nd Avenue, directly across the street from University High School – is the sole Spokane Valley park that offers sand volleyball courts. A proposed conceptual master plan, which the council is set to consider adopting July 8, would see more courts added that could potentially draw regional tournaments and tourist dollars.
“As a participant, it is a wonderful sport,” Kawal Chester told the council, adding that young people become interested because it is inexpensive. “It is incredibly economical.”
Not all that spoke at Tuesday’s hearing were supportive, however. Some are concerned over traffic impacts, especially when school is in session. Others wondered about the cost to build the additional sand courts and maintain them in the future.
“Where would the funds come from?” asked Danette Garcia, a nearby neighbor of the park.
The emphasis on beach volleyball comes from membership of the Evergreen Regional Volleyball Association. But some council members feel they haven’t heard enough from neighbors.
“I think the question is, is Browns Park really the place for it,” said Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard. “It doesn’t lessen the need.”
Council Member Chuck Hafner said every generation has an area of emphasis – whether its softball or soccer – that they want facilities made available in public parks.
“I’m wondering about the general public,” Hafner said. “How come they’re not here?”
Council Member Ed Pace said the park expansion would be a “win-win.”
“I’m really excited,” Pace said. “Now we have to figure out a park to add some lacrosse fields.”
Council Member Ben Wick addressed the funding issue, adding that grant dollars are more readily available if there is a municipal plan already in place.
The council will not meet next Tuesday, July 1.