City leaders hope revamped Dutch Jake’s Park will make West Central safer

A Spokane park has been given new life. On Thursday, Mayor David Condon and other city leaders celebrated the re-opening of Dutch Jake’s Park in the West Central neighborhood.

It’s one of the smallest parks in the city; it spans just one block off Broadway Avenue. But over the years it had become a big problem for the neighborhood.

Though it’s near the revitalized Kendall Yards area, the park itself had been left behind.

People who live and work in the area told us the park had turned into a place they tried to stay away from. West Central’s neighborhood resource officer Traci Ponto, who has been patrolling the area for more than a decade, said the park was an issue for her.

“This park has always been a problem with gang activity, definitely drug activity, disorderly conduct,” Officer Ponto listed.

Janice Miller and Jake Krummel moved to West Central just about a year ago, and they chose the location for a reason.

“We love the diversity and the inclusion in this neighborhood, and we just have loved seeing it grow in the last year,” Miller said.

She heard rumors about the park and was told it was “not a recommended place to bring children.”

The community came together to fix that. For years, many advocated for a remodel of the park, in hopes a cleaner, brighter space would attract families and drive away criminals.

RELATED: Big hopes for small park revitalization project in West Central

The park makeover began back in June, adding better lighting, new landscaping and a new sports court to replace the dilapidated basketball court that had been there for years.

“It was such a sad little park to begin with and now it’s so inviting and beautiful and new and fresh,” Officer Ponto said.

The revitalization cost $540,000. The city paid $190,000 of that. Additional funds came from federal grants, Kaiser Permanente and the Trust for Public Lands.

When the weather gets warmer, the city hopes to add more things.

Dutch Jake’s Park is at W Broadway Ave & N Chestnut St, about a mile west of the courthouse.

City leaders hope revamped Dutch Jake’s Park will make West Central safer