Folks in Post Falls are celebrating unusually early access to that city's most popular swimming spot, Q'emiln Park and its boat launch, which means an economic shot in the arm for the city and nearby businesses.
This is the first time in four years you can launch your boat or take a swim in Q'emiln Park on the 4th of July. A lower than normal snowpack closed the Post Falls Dam about two weeks ago and everybody is very happy about getting in the water early.
In comparison, last 4th of July anybody wanting to launch their boat in the Spokane River had to go all the way to Coeur d'Alene to find an open ramp. However, this year McEuen Field construction has shut down the 3rd Street docks and so the launch in Post Falls is ready to take up the slack and the money that comes with it.
"It's been four years since we've been open for the 4th of July and this is big for us. Big for our department, big for our city and big for our community," Dave Fair with Post Falls Parks and Recreation said.
Fair said having the Q'emiln launch open for the 4th of July and collecting the fees that come from visitors is worth about $10,000 to the Parks and Recreation budget.
Local businesses also expect to cash in on the boaters and swimmers as they make their last minute purchases.
"Definitely, because for the last week it has been so busy compared to last year at this time. Probably four or five thousand dollars a day more in business," Karla Barnes at the Post Falls Handy Mart said.
Last July the beach was fenced off for Independence Day, but ever since last weekend Q'emiln has been the place to cool off the kids as temperatures hit the high 90s.
"It's nice because now we can bring our kids down here and not deal with the beach in Coeur d'Alene where it's more crowded and it's safer because of how shallow it is," mom Kim Sherman said.
There is something else that sets Q'emiln aside from other beaches in the area. A city ordinance allows, if you're over 21, you can have a beer or glass of wine in the park. So if you're really into responsibly celebrating your freedom on the 4th, Post Falls is ready to have you.