New bathroom and splash pad coming to Sunset Park
Two new features will be coming to Sunset Park later this year.
The first is a new public restroom.
The Airway Heights City Council approved the purchase of a CXT restroom forthe park at the July 21 meeting.
Parks, Recreation and Community Services director J.C. Kennedy said he has conducted surveys over the years and two of the top requests from residents are improved restrooms and a water feature for the park.
Kennedy said the new restroom is a pre-fabricated and pre-engineered concrete building and meets all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The restroom is also designedto withstand snow, wind and group 1 seismic design category e earthquakes
The new restroom will have a timer that will lock the doors at 10 p.m. It will be located near Lawson Street, which will allow residents, as well as law enforcement, to keep a closer eye on the area.
"We've talked with the Police Department and with our current restroom being located in the center of the park, there's no way to regulate what happens in there," Kennedy said. "The new restroom will have a light sensor that will activate after 10 p.m. so if a patrolman is in the neighborhood they will see that light. If something is happening (in the restroom) they open the doors and put a stop to it."
Kennedy said the new restroom would accommodate not only residents, but also people who visit the city.
"With the growth of our youth sports programs we're getting more teams and more families are coming to the park on Saturday morning," Kennedy said. "This (improvement) is so needed."
Kennedy said the old restrooms would eventually be demolished.
The second improvement for Sunset Park is the splash pad. Airway Heights entered into an agreement with the Rotary Club of Spokane in 2012 to construct a splash pad at the park.
Rotary Club of Spokane president John Packard said the club proposed the splash pad to the city to give families not only a safe place to bring their children on summer days but also a chance to interact with other people in the neighborhood.
Spokane Rotary has spent over a year raising funds to purchase the equipment. Kennedy said the group found a contractor to construct the splash pad, which will be located behind the old restroom.
Councilwoman Tanya Dashiell sponsored both the bathroom and the splash pad and brought both items to the City Council.
Dashiell said Kennedy has helped her be more aware of the needs of a city park. She added that both improvements would not only meet requirements of Airway Heights' citizens, but also keep them happy.
"This will be a fantastic addition to the residents in walking distance (of the park)," Dashiell said.
Dashiell said the City Council is also thankful for Spokane Rotary for their dedication to the splash pad project.
Kennedy, who has lived in the West Plains since the 1970s, remembered when Sunset Park was a BMX track.
"Eventually it evolved into a city park but we really haven't updated it since then," Kennedy said. "The playgrounds were installed in the early '80s, they're still there."
Kennedy said a lot of the money the Park and Recreation Department gets is through park impact funds. He explained that the city can use funds to purchase equipment for new parks but cannot use that money to do maintenance on existing parks.
Construction on both the new restroom and the splash pad is scheduled to begin in September.
Kennedy, who is grateful for the City Council's support on the park improvements, hopes the new restroom and splash pad will be the first in a series of park improvements down the road.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.