Turns out, the Spokane Valley City Council digs sand volleyball after all.
On Tuesday night, the council -- with some caveats – voted to support a partnership between the city and the Evergreen Regional Volleyball Association to develop additional sand volleyball courts at Browns Park at Pines Road and 32nd Avenue. The proposal, which will roll out over several years and is a large component of the conceptual master plan for the park, is estimated at $2.1 million, with much of the funding to be identified at a later date.
If fully implemented, beach volleyball enthusiasts proclaim Spokane Valley could become a tourist destination for regional tournaments.
“In our estimation, Browns Park is the best location for this use,” said Mike Stone, city parks and recreation director.
Currently, the park is the only offers sand volleyball. Evergreen members say that the existing facilities see plenty of use with many would-be players sitting on the sidelines while others are busy setting, spiking and digging at the net.
“On any given night, there are groups in that park to use the courts,” Stone said. “The reason for 16 courts is there is a wide variety of programming needs.”
Under the proposal, the city would fund and develop the new volleyball components of the park while the volleyball association would help maintain the area and organize the league play and other official aspects.
While Mayor Dean Grafos said he is concerned – “That sounds like overkill for that little park” – Stone reminded the council that it would only be approving a plan and that no money was being allocated at this time.
“Obviously, this is not going to happen overnight,” Stone said.
The council’s approval comes after months of study and public input, which was largely favorable to the upgrades at Browns Park. While the area would lose its only softball field, it would eventually gain new play structures, a splash pad, slack-line feature, basketball court, restrooms and picnic areas. Parking, too, would be expanded at the site.
Julie Rosenoff, who lives near the area, suggested that the area be well lit at night.
“If there is lighting, that will discourage the drugs and vandalism,” she said.
Linda Mitrovich, another neighbor, said that the park has been “pretty empty” over the past 30 years.
“Volleyball is very attractive,” she said. “It seems like it will be very popular – people jumping up and down sounds wonderful. In our own bleak experience, there’s just nothing going on now.”
Council Member Rod Higgins said nothing would ever happen with the park – including attracting potential grant dollars -- if the council did not act on a plan.
“If we don’t approve the plan, we go nowhere,” he said.
Council Member Chuck Hafner said he was also supportive, as long as the neighborhood could still enjoy the park.
“I like the concept before us,” he said. “I just don’t want to exclude the neighborhood aspect.”