Little Library represents plans for Spokane Valley development | Community Spirit
There's a new addition to the corner of Sprague Ave. and Herald Road in the Spokane Valley. The edge of the empty lot that has sat vacant for the last 40 years is now home to a Little Free Library, and the Spokane County Library District is hoping that this mini version will inspire residents to approve funding for a full size version in the coming months.
On Thursday afternoon, the Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Department and the Spokane County Library District held the last of three public comment events on a proposed new park and library to fill the empty corner. The two groups jointly purchased the land last year, and now the Library District is working on getting funding for a new 30,000 square foot library.
“Both compliment each other so well,” Nancy Ledeboer, Library Director, said of the juxtaposition of a park and library. Ledeboer said that the library plans include space for public meeting rooms and children's room in the single story library.
As part of the purchase agreement, the Library District has five years to find funding for the library or the City will buy out their portion of the land. Ledeboer said they've received a very positive response from the community and are working on a proposal for the County Commissioner. They are hoping to get approval to ask voters for a $19 million bond in the Spring.
That amount would cover the cost of two new libraries, and the renovation of the existing one on Argonne. No matter the outcome of the bond, the city will still see the space become a park. The lot is adjacent to the small Balfour Park, and the city will expand it regardless of the library. However, Mike Stone, Director of Parks and Recreation, thinks there's great benefit to having the library park combo.
“It has potential to be our community gathering spot,” said Stone. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a city.”
While neighboring Spokane has Riverfront Park to host community events, that type of venue is lacking in Spokane Valley. The conceptual plan for the park and library site includes typical park staples, playground, basketball court and splash pad, but it also includes amphitheater seating and a plaza that Stone said would be the prefect setting for concerts or farmer's markets.
Stone said that the comments from the three meetings have been very positive and he's optimistic that the Library District will find the necessary funding. Lifelong Spokane Valley resident Kathi Lankford is all for this type of development.
“I've been waiting for something like this for a long time,” said Lankford. “We need this.”
Lankford was ready to move to a different part of town, but when she heard about the library and park plans she decided to stick around for a while. She hopes that the addition of green space will trickle down to the U-District. Her six-year-old grandson, Michael, is excited to have a place to shoot some hoops and to cool down with a run through the splash pad.
Ledeboer said they'll keep the Little Free Library on the corner for as long as people want to use it, but she hopes that having it there will remind people of what the field could transform into within the next few years.
You can view the conceptual plan for the library and park by clicking HERE.