Barring any unexpected blocks, the Spokane Valley City Council appears set to expand the number of sand volleyball courts at Browns Park next week.
During Tuesday’s study session, the council heard a report from Mike Stone, city parks and recreation director, who said that he has received four bids to construct five new courts at the park, located on the northeast corner of Pines Road and 32nd Avenue, this spring for less than the budgeted $176,000.
With three existing courts already -- the new amenities would be in place by mid-May -- the city would be poised to host tournaments and other sand volleyball-related events in the future.
“Putting in more volleyball courts provides us an opportunity,” Stone told the council. “We begin to build a case for this venue being an attraction for our city.”
The plans do come at the cost of the existing softball field at the park, however. Some council members worried that the city might be forsaking family recreation opportunities for volleyball enthusiasts.
Council Member Chuck Hafner said he wanted to make sure neighbors wouldn’t be crowded out and could still find playground equipment and other attractions at the park.
“It should be a neighborhood park, not a volleyball park,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard said he wanted to ensure some flexibility in the design if volleyball doesn’t take off at the facility the way some envision.
“There still seems to be an opposing view that volleyball isn’t going to be a big deal in Spokane County,” he said.
Stone said he hadn’t heard those concerns, but the park could be altered if that ended up being the case.
“If so, then we totally flip around and you fill in the courts and move on,” he said.
He added that the softball diamond only sees use as a practice field.
“I drive on 32nd a lot,” said Council Member Ed Pace, “I don’t really ever see anyone playing softball.”
A motion to proceed is expected to go before the council March 10 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.