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Parks gain new features just in time for summer

New park developments inside and outside Spokane city limits will offer residents more opportunities for recreation this summer, and in the months to come.

A new youth disc golf course at Loma Vista was recently installed and includes four holes. The course is a partnership between the United States Youth Disc Golf Association, Spokane Public Schools and Spokane Parks and Recreation.

Disc golf is a safe sport that helps more children be active, said Erin Johnson with the USYDGA.

“It’s a sport that’s low-impact,” Johnson said. “Eight percent of the kids don’t play football or run.”

The association plans to add four more junior courses around Spokane over the summer. The four courses cost about $12,000, paid for by the Spokane Parks Foundation. Additional design and miscellaneous costs are paid for by the association, Johnson said.

The Helen Keller Garden at Manito Park was just finished this month. It features benches engraved with quotes from the activist, a Braille tablet to accommodate blind visitors and fragrant plants including lilacs, and others that will still be planted in the near future. The garden is estimated to have cost about $17,000 and was primarily paid for by the the Spokane Central Lions Club.

The city added improvements to several facilities, including renovations at Dutch Jake’s Park, and is planning a new irrigation system at the Indian Canyon Golf Course starting this fall.

In the coming years, residents may also see construction of an arboretum, which is currently in planning stages. The city has also purchased private land to connect the bluff trails on the South Hill.

In Spokane Valley, plans for a new section of the Appleway Trail will soon be complete between Evergreen and Sullivan roads, which is estimated to cost roughly $2,343,000. The trail will also get a restroom and other amenities added on its Sullivan-to-Corbin section, to be constructed this year at an estimated cost of $2,363,000.

When the trail is done, it will be a 5.5-mile stretch including pedestrian crossings, trees, benches, restrooms, drinking fountains and interpretive and historical signs, said Michael D. Stone, director of parks and recreation for Spokane Valley.

Valley parks and recreation also recently completed the first renovations for phase one of the CenterPlace West Lawn project, which cost $200,000. The department is looking to raise another $2,000,000 to complete the project, he said.

Browns Park also will get new renovations, including eight new sand volleyball courts. But those won’t be installed until after Labor Day, Stone said. Once they’re installed, the 16 courts will give Spokane Valley the largest outdoor sand volleyball facility within 400 miles, he said.

Local parks in Spokane County also are getting renovations, with improvements to the Dishman Hills Glenrose Trailhead and the Stevens Creek Trail scheduled for this year.

Renovations will include added parking and landscaping, and bringing electricity to the paths and cameras that hikers will be able to access online. The cameras will help with security, said Paul Knowles, special projects manager for the county parks department, and also allow hikers to log in online and see trail conditions or check how busy the path is before they go.

The Dishman Hills renovations are estimated at roughly $325,000, with another $45,000 to $50,000 investment to install the cameras.

A limited-access gate for the Stevens Creek Trail, along with regrating for the road past the access gate, is estimated at around $15,000. Those changes will also improve access for emergency vehicles, said Chris Crone, park planner and landscape architect with the county.

Funding for the Mica Peak Trail was recently approved, and construction will start this June. When it’s done, the all-season trail will span 14 miles on Mica Peak.

Total costs will be about $180,00, with $106,000 in cash and $74,000 in value of volunteer labor provided by the Washington Trails Association and Evergreen East Mountain Bike Alliance, Spokane Nordic and the Inland Empire Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen.