Bringing projects to life
It’s a rare opportunity to build a park from scratch—especially in a neighborhood that has yet to be fully developed. The early planning stages are full of listening by both the community and the design team. Boards and presentation slides depict the myriad of options available to the community. Ideas bounce around. Some stick while others drop without a second thought. We work together to envision a park: a park that is thriving, vibrant—a hub of the community—and appeals to all ages. From the very beginning, we’ve been excited about the future of Orchard Park.
The members of Liberty Lake’s growing River District knew what they wanted—an awesome neighborhood park. It was SPVV’s job to figure out what constitutes an “awesome park” for this community. Lucky for them, we knew exactly what to do, and we hit the ground running!
I’ll spare you all the details (or you can check them out here), but SPVV invested tons of time and effort to create a meaningful park master plan and construction documents. On projects like this, you put so much of yourself into it, and you become very attached to your vision of the end product—right down to the details.
When inevitable changes emerge, it can be hard to let go of that first attachment and get equally excited about what’s changing. You get stuck on those original details.
Orchard Park evolved a lot during construction documentation and even before construction began. Rising construction costs led to considerable adjustments to the plan, but it all ended up working out. The modifications saved the project, and in the end, that’s all that matters—a viable project! As construction progressed, a few more things changed, which is typical. Even though you know that the changes are making the project possible, you can still feel a little defeated.
I have to admit I was nervous going out to the park to see the finished project. After everything that changed, what would it feel like to be there? We worked so long and hard making the design “perfect,” could I experience the modified version without thinking, “If only X were different?”
Late Sunday morning, I took my family out to Orchard Park. We packed up the kids and a picnic. We found a table in the shelter, and the kids ran off to the playground. They loved it! My 4- and 2-year-old played on every square inch of the playground. As the morning turned to afternoon, the park started to fill up—pop-up tents, bikes and trikes, lunches and kids screaming with excitement.
The ultimate vision for Orchard Park was about more than the things inside the park and the details of how it all fits together. The goal was to create a place that would be enjoyed and loved by the community—which is what Orchard Park is! I realize this park is so much more than I could have imagined. I had a total Grinch moment—it’s not just what’s in the park that counts; it’s the love from the community that makes it truly special.
I mean, the super cool playground and splash pad definitely help!