Spokane Valley looks to repurpose old horse arena
City requests ideas for land at virtual open housesOctober 8th, 2020
The city of Spokane Valley will take public input in the coming weeks as it decides what to do with a no-longer-used portion of Valley Mission Park.
Mike Stone, director of parks and recreation for Spokane Valley, says the former Valley Mission Horse Arena area of the 23-acre park hasn’t been used since 2013 and is in need of an update.
“We don’t have a large number of parks, so we need to maximize usage to the best of our ability,” Stone says. “Over recent years, there’s been some illegal activities taking place down there, and that’s a concern to our city.”
The city is holding two virtual open house events via Zoom to gather community feedback. The first took place on Wednesday, Sept. 30, and the second will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
The first event covered current conditions of the site, a site analysis, and ideas to spark conversation. At the second event, parks employees will present design concepts based on community feedback. Stone says people who are unable to attend the virtual events can contact the parks department via phone or email at any time to express concerns and ideas for the site.
The community has been asked to weigh in on the site in the past. Stone says a 2019 update to the master plan for the city’s parks included discussion of what to do with the former horse arena site, which is situated on about five acres in the northeast corner of the park.
“The No. 1 suggested idea was a skate park or a bike park at the horse arena, followed by wanting a new playground, replacing the restroom, replacing the tennis courts, or maybe adding pickleball courts,” Stone says. “We have a pretty open mind, as far as the space.”
Stone says he hopes to take a proposed new use to the Spokane Valley’s city council by the end of the year. He says any project the council approves likely will be broken up into phases to spread out construction costs.
Valley Mission Park was constructed in the 1960s, when Spokane County owned the property, and the horse arena was built in 1974. When Spokane Valley became a city in 2003, Stone says the county gave Spokane Valley all the parks that were within the newly created city limits, including Valley Mission Park.
By the mid-2000s, usage of the arena was low. Stone says the city rented the space occasionally, but rental fees were too small to cover maintenance costs. A fire in 2006 destroyed 31 of the horse stables and a restroom facility, the ruins of which were removed last year. Stone says the site hasn’t been used effectively for the past eight years.