Adjacent artist's rendering of expanded park. View is from the northeast corner of the park looking southwest toward the new library, public plaza and stage venue.
A partnership between the city and Spokane County Library District continues to frame the proposed expansion of Balfour Park and a new Spokane Valley library. Residents have long voiced support for revitalizing this part of the city, often referred to as the “heart of Spokane Valley” and home to the city’s first retail mall in the 1970s and 80s.
The existing park is located at 105 N. Balfour Road in the northeast corner of a city block across the street from City Hall. The expansion will integrate the adjacent 5.6 acres of undeveloped land into the existing park; the city estimates the expansion will cost about $7 million.
'Conceptual' 2013 park design to be finalized
The city first engaged a consultant in 2013 to gather community input and develop a “conceptual site plan” for expanding Balfour Park. At that time, suggestions included a public plaza; amphitheater and stage; playground and more. The city put the project on hold until the library district secured funding for a new facility.
With a new library funded, the city and library district are again collaborating to update the 2013 site plan and proposed amenities. The city held a community workshop on Aug. 4, 2021 to gather additional public input regarding residents' preferred options for the type of amenities that will be included in the park when it is expanded. Facilities under consideration include an amphitheater, turf play field, interpretive trail, splash pad, restrooms, shelter, sports courts, event plaza, and playground.
Discussions also include the need for a crosswalk near City Hall to allow pedestrians to safely cross Sprague Avenue, and the feasibility of connecting the Appleway Trail to the expanded park. The city will seek grant funds to support future park improvements.
As park planning got underway, the city improved three streets this past summer surrounding the park block – N. Herald, E. Main and N. Balfour – to prepare for the new library building. The streets were widened, and curbs and gutters installed; sidewalks will be added during the library construction.
The district is working on facility design, and tentatively planning to begin construction of the new library next spring. The district is committed to ensuring the new library is a community learning space that engages visitors to learn, create and thrive together. The facility will continue to provide access to both print and digital resources for all ages, as well as educational programs and community meeting spaces. Initial phase I updates by the city (pending City Council authorization) include infrastructure improvements, including excavating and grading of the entire site, adding water, electric, and sewer utilities, a portion of the park pathways, lighting, landscaping and irrigation, in addition to demolishing the existing restroom in Balfour Park and constructing a new building that will include a restroom, pump room for a future splash pad and a field office for the Spokane Valley Police Department.
The new facility is projected to cost about $14 to $15 million. Funding includes a loan from the Washington State Treasurer’s Office, grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, library district capital savings and fund raised contributions. In addition, the city is contributing $1.3 million which includes $461,000 of surrounding street improvements and $839,000 in cash (representing the amount that the library district paid to the city when it acquired the 2.8 acres where the library will be located).
Print a Balfour Park project brochure.
For more information about the park project, contact Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation at (509) 720-5400.
For information regarding the development of the public library, contact Jane Baker, Communications Manager at Spokane County Library District, firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 893-8205.