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Developing buildable residential space

Until new subdivisions go in, Cheney will be short lots for single-family homes


Grace Pohl

Photos by Grace Pohl Developers of Harvest Bluff need to resolve some groundwater issues before they can proceed with the fourth phase of the subdivision located across Betz Road from Cheney Middle School.

Public projects won't be the only items on city of Cheney officials plates as the weather heats up. A number of private projects - mostly residential - are also on tap to begin later this spring and summer, with the duration ranging from a few months to a year or more.

The largest of these currently is the 7,200-square-foot expansion of Betz Elementary School. Located south of the high school off North Sixth Street, the 52,000-square-foot building will see seven classrooms added along with a security upgrade of its main entrance and reconfiguration of its parent and bus pickup loops.

The school district received five bids for the project, with Spokane general contractor Leone & Keeble the lowest at $2.448 million. The district's board of directors has set a maximum allowable construction budget of $2.379 million, with Leone & Keeble also providing an additional $20,500 bid on three alternates.

Cheney Public Works Director Todd Ableman said the city is looking at doing some pedestrian improvements to North Sixth and North Eighth streets as well, but won't take these up immediately as they are planned in conjunction with the expansion and remodeling work at Cheney High School. Construction documents for this project are scheduled to be approved this fall, and Ableman said the pedestrian improvements will coincide with construction.

Nearby to the school district work is a planned 96-unit student apartment complex at the corner of Cedar and North Eighth streets across from the city's pool and Hagelin Park. Ableman said he expects the owners of Parkside Commons, which was the subject of several contentious meetings last year, to submit documents to begin the building process sometime in April.

It will be awhile before students can move into anything, and there are some issues to resolve first, beginning with burying a power line along Erie Street, Light Department Director Steve Boorman said. Also scheduled are changes along North Eighth Street the city must make to resolve parking and traffic issues as part of a developer's agreement signed with site-owner Greenstone Homes.

Ableman said the city will study the area, looking at specific conditions to make changes that hopefully will resolve issues, particularly on-street parking, without creating others.

"No parking any time (signs) will just shift people around," he added.

Apartment complexes at Eagle Point at Betz and Washington and Salnave Glen on West First Street are finalized, Ableman said. That leaves Parkside and the 42-unit L Street Apartments on West First Street as the only multi-family residential construction currently going in, outside of duplex construction, much of which has been taking place off Washington Street in the Moos Park area.

Golden Hills phase five - located at the corner of Washington and Mike McKeehan Way opposite Eagle Point - is under city review, and work could commence this summer, with utilities, streets and curbs going in. The 36-unit phase three of Harvest Bluff is built out, and Ableman said final infrastructure work on phase four could begin this summer too if some groundwater issues are resolved.

That leaves View Acres in the Salnave area as the only residential subdivision under construction where single-family homes could currently be built.

Infrastructure construction plans for Golden Hills Phase 5 are being reviewed by city of Cheney officials.

"As far as going vertical, that will be a little while," Ableman. "Until then, we're out of buildable lots until infrastructure (at Harvest Bluff, Golden Hills) goes in."

As far as electrical work, Boorman said the chiller replacement project at Eastern Washington University's Rozell Power Plant should wrap up this spring after about a year and half of work. City crews are doing some clean up and system improvements in conjunction with the contractor work, of which is consolidating two feeder lines at the plant northeast of Roos Field.

Boorman said there might be some substation work later, and he estimates with all of the current residential projects going on that the department will be looking at hooking up around 100 new meters this summer as well.

John McCallum can be reached at


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