Balfour Park Expansion Project
A partnership between the city and Spokane County Library District continues to frame the expansion of Balfour Park and a new Spokane Valley Public Library. The new library opened in June 2023 in the southwest corner of the park block at Sprague Avenue and N. Herald Road. The expansion of the park, estimated to cost about $7 million, will integrate 5.6 acres of undeveloped adjacent land. Construction on the expansion got underway in April 2023.
Improvements at Balfour Park
Phase I Improvements underway
The city is improving Balfour Park in two phases. Construction on park improvements in Phase I started in spring 2023. Improvements include engineering and construction of facilities estimated to cost about $3.9 million. This phase was originally scheduled for spring 2022, but submitted construction bids were significantly higher than projected due to rapidly rising building costs. As a result, the city delayed Phase I construction to 2023.
Improvements in Phase I include:
- Excavating and grading of the entire site
- Adding water, electric, and sewer utilities
- Developing a portion of the park pathways
- Building out lighting, landscaping and irrigation
- Demolishing existing restroom in the park
- Constructing a new building to include a restroom, pump room for a future splash pad, and a small workspace for Spokane Valley Police Department.
- Constructing an Events Plaza with a Veteran's Memorial
Phase II Improvements
The city has identified features for a future Phase II, including a park amphitheater, enhanced playground, picnic shelters, splash pad, and sports courts. The city hopes to construct these features in 2024, depending on available funding and project bids.
Plans for Balfour Park's expansion date back to 2013 when the city and library district engaged a consultant to gather community input and develop a “conceptual site plan” for expanding the park and constructing a library. Residents had 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 1980s. The city put the expansion on hold until the library district could secure funding for a new facility.
The city moved forward with the park's expansion in 2021 after the district announced it had secured the necessary construction funds. View July 6, 2021 presentation to City Council on Balfour Park development. The city surveyed residents and held a community workshop in August 2021 to gather additional public input.
Construction of New Library: 2022-2023
The library district opened the new Spokane Valley Public Library in June 2023. Construction began in April 2022 on 2.8 acres of undeveloped land in the southwest corner of the park block at Sprague Ave. and N. Herald Road. The new facility replaced the library on Main Avenue, which was built in 1955. The new library creates a "civic campus" in combination with City Hall (located across the street) and the expanded park facilities.
The district purchased the acreage from the city in 2013. The new library costs about $15 million. The district received a $2 million grant from the State Department of Commerce in 2021 to help build the facility. In addition to the grant, funding included a loan from the Washington State Treasurer’s Office, library district capital savings and fund raised contributions. The city contributed $1.3 million, which included $461,000 of street improvements completed in 2021 and $839,000 in cash (representing the amount the district paid to the city when it acquired the 2.8 acres). In 2021, the city repaved N. Herald, E. Main and N. Balfour, three of the streets that surround the park block, and constructed curb and gutters. This work was completed to prepare for the library construction.