From expanded parks to another river path, Spokane Valley’s new park director outlines his vision

The expansion of Balfour Park as a plan to build a new library on the edge of the park is taking shape.

Developing 45 acre wooded land along the Spokane River near Flora Road and Euclid Avenue to create a new park.

Further development of a newly proposed trail project along the northern part of the Spokane River.

All of these initiatives are among John Bottelli’s priorities as director of new parks, recreational facilities and facilities in the Spokane Valley.

Bottelli, who started his new position a month ago, joins the job after having worked for Spokane County for about 13 years. The 50-year-old said the job in the Spokane Valley was a natural next step in his career – largely because he wanted to keep living in the area.

“These opportunities are far and wide,” said Bottelli. “Spokane Valley has an amazing opportunity to develop an interconnected park and trail system. So much great work can be done here. “

Bottelli said his career in city government began working for the Coeur d’Alene tribe in the late 1990s.

He joined the county in 2007 as a special park manager and was named assistant director of the county’s parks, recreation and golf division about two years later. When Bottelli became the district’s park manager in 2017, he was responsible for overseeing more than 15,000 acres of public land and parking facilities.

With Spokane Valley, Bottelli oversees around 11 people as well as more than a dozen parks and open spaces.

Here’s a look at some of the other projects Bottelli has prioritized with his new position:

• • CenterPlace: Marketing of the newly renovated West Lawn space in the CenterPlace Regional Event Center, which Bottelli says can be rented alone or in conjunction with the Event Center. The recent $ 2 million renovation resulted in a new, hard-sculpted space with a concert stage and dance area.

• • Browns Park: Construction begins on the final phase of improvements at Browns Park, which includes a playground, a small animal shelter, and a small toilet, Bottelli said.

• • Pinecroft: Working with the State Department of Natural Resources to provide public access to the state Pinecroft Natural Area Preserve adjacent to Mirabeau Point Park.

• • Sullivan Park: Completion of acquisition of 14 acres of land adjacent to Sullivan Park for expansion. The city signed the purchase and sale agreement in 2019; Bottelli said the city paid 10% ($ 84,400) for the cost, with the remaining $ 759,600 earmarked in a capital reserve and included as an anticipated expense in the 2021 budget to be paid once the aluminum slag contamination is removed along the way The northern boundary of the site is complete.

• • Spokane River Trail: The Spokane River Trail project is still in a conceptual phase and would connect existing trail segments on the north side of the river from Flora Road to Plante’s Ferry Park to Upriver Drive. Deputy City Administrator John Hohman explained the concept to Spokane Valley City Council in late February.

“My vision would be to join the Appleway Trail with the Centennial Trail, probably along the Flora Road corridor,” Bottelli said.

In addition to access to a regional transport system via the Spokane Transit Authority, the Spokane Valley is unique, according to Bottelli, for the starting points located on the city limits, for example the Dishman Hills nature reserve, the Saltese Uplands nature reserve and the “Soon-to” -be-developed Etter Ranch Trailhead in the Antoine Peak Conservation Area.

“For me, the connection to our regional traffic authority and an interconnected park and path network is that citizens can use public transport to go to places in or near our parks and from there to relax beyond the transit stop,” said Bottelli .

Bottelli worked in his office at CenterPlace in Mirabeau Point Park and used a “fire hose analogy” to describe the amount of information he needed to gather in order to stay up to date.

“The Spokane Valley park and trail system is a system of interconnected facilities and serves as an engine for economic development. It increases the well-being of the city and the quality of life in the entire region, ”said Bottelli. “That’s why I’m in this business.”