Spokane, Wash. – Orchard Avenue Park, near Chief Garry Park in northeast Spokane, could close permanently after the county decides not to renew its contract with the property’s owner, Felts Field.
Neighbors said they only discovered it because crews started dismantling it.
For the past 25 years, Bruce Maxwell has walked the borders of Orchard Avenue Park almost every day.
“Sometimes I go right, sometimes I go left,” Maxwell said.
For Adam Bray, the park felt like home.
“My mom said something about (how) she thought my grandmother actually helped it start in the ’60s — my great-grandmother — because she lived down this street,” he said.
He’s lived here his whole life, more than 50 years, and says the park has always been the heart of the community.
“It’s always been a great place for people to come here and hang out and bring their kids and grandkids,” he said. “There’s almost always someone using it here.”
But recently, neighbors say they woke up to their beloved park being torn apart piece by piece.
First the stands, then the benches.
“I hear rumors on and off, but this is the first time I’ve seen any real action,” Maxwell said.
Neighbors said they knew nothing and only rumors drove the discussion.
“So, no warnings, no signs, no knocks, nothing to know that things are changing,” Shirley McGeorge said.
According to Spokane County’s communications manager Jared Webley, the county did not renew the lease on the land.
reason? The play equipment is over 25 years old and the irrigation system is about to be scrapped.
Ultimately, Webley said, the Felts Fields master plan includes final runway improvements and expansions, meaning the park could be replaced by a runway in the coming years.
So from October 1st. County parks began throwing away what was left of Orchard Avenue Park, leaving only green space.
“I remember back in the ’80s, they had to try and do a fundraiser to help save the park because then they would try to close it,” Bray said. “It’s a shame people weren’t notified and given a chance to have a say or see if they could do something to keep it.”
“It’s a nice park. It’s old, yes, but it’s well-used and loved, and like I said, it’s going to be missed,” McGeorge said.
Public affairs officials at airports in the area, including Felts Field, told KHQ they plan to fence the area and set up pedestrian walkways to keep the land as open space. However, the plan needs to be approved by the FAA first.