Copyright 2014 Spokane Spokesman-Review
Brainstorming session is set for 6 p.m. March 27 at University High School, 12420 E. 32nd Ave., Spokane Valley.
Beach volleyball enthusiasts are hoping Spokane Valley can become part of a tournament circuit.
The city's only public park that features sand volleyball courts is being studied for potential upgrades that would make it a more attractive tournament venue, which backers say could draw participants and spectators from throughout the Northwest.
But the city wants greater public involvement in the overall planning process for Browns Park, located at the corner of Pines Road and 32nd Avenue, and has scheduled a brainstorming session for 6 p.m. March 27 at University High School, which is across the street. Officials particularly want to hear from nearby residents and those who regularly use the 8.2-acre park.
"Beach volleyball is becoming more and more popular, and it's an activity that people will travel to," said Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone. "The thought is, if we could create a venue of a caliber that could host tournaments, Spokane Valley could be put into the rotation and it could become an economic development driver with people coming from out of town."
The park already is scheduled to get four additional sand volleyball courts this year.
Future upgrades could include further expansion of the volleyball courts, construction of additional picnic shelters and more play equipment. The park also has a ball field in one corner.
The Evergreen Region Volleyball Association made a pitch last year to city tourism officials about the popularity of beach volleyball.
Stone said there was interest in exploring the possibility of improving Browns Park to become a regional outdoor volleyball draw, and design consultants are sketching out some conceptual ideas but no formal plans have been developed.
"We want public input first," he said.
At the upcoming public meeting, the conceptual sketches will be available and the design consultants will be on hand to discuss various potential improvements.
Browns Park is on land that was turned over to Spokane Valley in 2011. Spokane County originally conveyed the land to the Valley Fire Department in 1977 for a future station with the understanding that it could be used for public recreation until then. But when the fire department chose another location for its new station, about a block away, the park land reverted to Spokane Valley.