Making Way for the Freeway: Liberty Park

Decline of the old Liberty Park began in the 1950s when the Spokane Park Board decided to fill in the pond for health reasons. In 1952 the city decided to dump nonburnable waste into the depression left by the pond and finally in 1956 plans for the freeway were drawn though Liberty Park, taking 14 of the 21 acres of park land.

In 1967 and 1968 articles ran in the Spokesman Review and the Spokane Daily Chronicle asking what would be done with Liberty Park and more importantly, what would be done with the residents of the East Central neighborhood. The city promised a park as good as the one they had, but the argument could be given that the park had been allowed to fall into disrepair. Would they get a better park? Or would they get a park that was an eyesore?

In 1973 the new Liberty Park was nearly complete. The state had taken 18 of Liberty Park's original 21 acres. The money from the sale was used to buy land for a new Liberty Park and to expand Grant Park from 3 acres to a little over 12 acres. New Liberty Park would feature a smaller pond with a recirculating pump, restrooms, a shelter, two baseball diamonds, two new tennis courts, a basketball court, and a horseshoe court. Lighting was installed to discourage vandalism in the new park.


Liberty Park
Images taken by Tracy L. Rebstock, images from the Tony and Suzanne Bamonte Collection, Spokane, Wa, Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, City Hall, Spokane, Wa, Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, Wa.
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