South Hill residents push to protect park from water tower construction

SPOKANE, Wash.– Some people are criticizing plans for the City of Spokane to build a water tower in a South Hill park.

Paul Tiesse has been living mere blocks from Hamblen Park his entire life. His parents built their home in the neighborhood. Now he lives in that same house, visiting the same park he did as a kid.

“It’s always been a place to come up here and bring the dogs for a walk,” Tiesse said.

Tiesse and Marvo Reguindin walk the area often. They are worried about what will happen to the undisturbed land if the city moves forward with plans to build a water tower in Hamblen Park.

“They are destroying one of the last pieces of natural area on the South Hill,” Reguindin said.

City Spokesperson Marlene Feist explained that the new tank will serve homes south of about 14th Avenue, in Spokane. Not only will it help keep water pressure high, but it will be another source of water for firefighters.

Feist said Hamblen Park was selected as the best option among 11 sites across the South Hill. She explained that the park meets all the necessary criteria.

Feist said the tower would be about 100 feet tall, but engineers don’t anticipate it being much of an eyesore for nearby homes.

“It allows for a little bit of distance between the residential area and the tank,” Feist said. “If you live right next to the park, because the tank will be high, it won’t really be in your visual sight line.”

People who use the park worry that construction will change the feel of the wild space though. It’s a concern Claire Walke brought before the Spokane Park Board in a recent letter. The fourth grader rides her bike through the park weekly.

“What I like about the park is that it gives me a nice easy place to come and ride my bike that is only like five minutes away from my house,” Walke said.

While many years separate Walke from some of her other neighbors, they share a common conviction.

“I think it’d be great to keep it this way for the future generations,” Tiesse said.

The City of Spokane is accepting comments via an online survey through Tuesday. Share your thoughts HERE.

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