Big hopes for small park revitalization project in West Central

Big hopes for small park revitalization project in West Central

There’s big things brewing at Dutch Jake’s Park in West Central Spokane, with an official groundbreaking on a more than half million dollar revitalization project.

“I think it’s great that the community is coming together behind this,” said long-time resident Wendy LaMorte. “This should be a place you should gather and it be safe, instead of a place you avoid.”

Planning for the renovation has been years in the making, and many attribute the idea to the area’s Neighborhood Resource Officer Traci Ponto, who’s been patrolling the area for a decade.

“This park has had problems,” she said. “There’s been trouble with drug activity and gang activity.”

She said that spills over into the rest of the neighborhood. By renovating the park, there can be a whole trickle down effect into the rest of the neigbhorhood.

“A facelift or a renovation really starts that process off greatly,” she said. “What we need to do is draw families into the park.”

By doing that, she says, it drives the crime out.

“Once you end up with families in the park, and good people, the folks who want to do the criminal activity will leave because they don’t want the eyes and ears on what they are doing,” she said.

Renderings for the park show a brand new sports court, a performance area, a hiking path almost 3/4 of a mile long, a new playground, landscaping and new fencing.

The cost of the project is $540,000 of which the city is paying $190,000. Additional funds come from Kaiser Permanente, the Trust for Public Lands as well as federal grants.

Construction is expected to be completed by September of this year.

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