When the Olmsted brothers wrote a report to Spokane’s Board of Park Commissioners in 1908 outlining a system of parks, the plan emphasized the natural beauty of Spokane’s deep river gorge and the need to “prize and preserve” the unique landscape.
That perspective has guided the Kendall Yards development, and the next phase includes the construction of Olmsted Green, a park about the size of a football field along the Centennial Trail. After getting feedback from residents last fall, the park plans now include a winding path through the middle with a footbridge over a stormwater “rain garden.” A water feature for kids was added near the playground area and Centennial Trail.
Compare the latest image to the previous version from last year, below:
Though it won’t be obvious, this park is also designed to be an innovative solution for keeping unfiltered stormwater out of the Spokane River. Runoff from streets and parking lots often contains oil, de-icer and other pollutants, and new developments are required to contain stormwater so it doesn’t run directly into the river.
This past summer, an underground tank was constructed just west of the Monroe Street Bridge at the same time the Centennial Trail was extended through Kendall Yards. That tank captures runoff from the bridge area, where the soil is too rocky to absorb it, and pumps it farther west into Kendall Yards, where it will be filtered at the Olmsted park through grassy basins called “rain gardens” in the northwest corner of the park. Another rain garden in the middle of the park is paired with a pedestrian bridge.
Greenstone Corp. CEO Jim Frank offered the land as public park, but the city Park Board declined to take on the maintenance costs. Instead, it will be owned by the Kendall Yards homeowners’ association.
Here is a detail from the specifications for the stormwater basins at the park entrance.
Here is the park location within the Kendall Yards development: