Spokane is a city built around parks. To honor that legacy and ensure everyone has access to safe, clean public spaces for generations to come, volunteer leaders of two local park organizations started endowments at Innovia this year.
The Friends of Manito Fund was founded in May to preserve the beauty of Manito Park with a long-term goal of allowing The Friends of Manito, a nonprofit organization, to contribute substantially to the park’s annual budget. Distributions from the fund will be used for daily maintenance, operations and emergencies.
For more than one hundred years, the Spokane community has been enjoying Manito Park’s gardens, views and recreational areas. “We are making sure Manito Park stays beautiful, so our families and our children’s families can enjoy it forever,” said Kelly Brown, President of The Friends of Manito.
The organization holds a variety of fundraisers and events throughout the year to support its operations. Plant sales take place every year in the spring and summer. Volunteers plant and take care of a variety of perennials for community members to purchase. A newer fundraiser is the winter light show which attracts tens of thousands of local residents annually to walk and drive through the light displays during the holiday season.
The Friends of Manito is committed to investing in the park’s beauty.
Independent of The Friends of Manito, the Browne’s Addition Neighborhood Council started the Spokane’s Historic Coeur d’Alene Park Fund earlier this year, with a similar mission of supporting a neighborhood public space. Coeur d’Alene Park is the oldest park in Spokane and residents of the neighborhood hope to restore it to its former beauty.
Since the Council first convened in 2013, the restoration of the park has been a top priority. In 2014, the Council assembled residents to ask what needed improvement in their neighborhood. The resulting “master plan” of improvements for the park was approved by the Spokane Parks Board and City Council, and residents have been fundraising ever since. The Council’s new fund at Innovia takes the community one step closer to bringing the plan to life, which includes updates to the park’s playground, walkways and bathrooms.
MaryLou Sproul, a longtime Browne’s Addition resident and member of Friends of Coeur d’Alene Park, a collective of local volunteers invested in the restoration and maintenance of nearby community spaces, hopes that revamping the park will help revitalize the neighborhood.
“I have a romantic view of Browne’s Addition one hundred years ago in which Coeur d’Alene Park was the center of social life,” she said. She recounted a story of President Teddy Roosevelt visiting the park while he passed through Spokane, waving at the city’s children as he passed by.
Beyond funding repairs and improvements, the new endowment will help sustain activities at the park that are central to community life in the neighborhood. Each summer, Friends of Coeur d’Alene Park organizes a concert series with a variety of bands, as well as historic walking tours of the neighborhood. Around Halloween, MaryLou leads SpookWalk, a walking tour that features the ghost stories of Browne’s Addition.
By investing in the sustainability of their parks, both The Friends of Manito and Friends of Coeur d’Alene Park are investing in the future of their vibrant neighborhoods.