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Travers Park: A visionary gem for Sandpoint

Merging Nature and Community

Travers Park: A visionary gem for Sandpoint

By Damen Rodriguez

In a picturesque nook of Sandpoint, Idaho, where nature's emerald hues meet the community's cheerful chatter, a park planning and development manager, the inimitable Maeve Nevins-Lavtar, embarked on a visionary journey. As the orchestrator of the expansion of Travers Park, Maeve breathed life into the City's 2020 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, metamorphosing it into a wondrous wonderland. The planning process, like a sonnet in motion, unfolded like a ballet of diligence. With her professional team of landscape architects, led by the esteemed Mike Terrell Landscape Architecture (MTLA), Maeve conducted a symphony of site visits and deep-dive reviews. But the true crescendo was public outreach, where the community's voice harmonized with Travers Park's essence. From the fall of 2022 to January 2023, an online survey, an Open House public meeting and several City Council gatherings became the epilogue of consensus.

As the clock struck January 18, 2023, the curtain unveiled the refined Travers Park Concept Plan before the City Council. Applause filled the chamber as dreams took shape. Phase 1, the star-spangled showstopper, twinkled like a meteor shower with the "James E. Russell" Sports Center, a venue embracing four tennis and 16 pickleball courts, complemented by a multi-use room and a plaza that harmoniously hummed with laughter and joy. The all-wheeled skatepark expansion, a daring endeavor of daring ollies and gravity-defying tricks, skated alongside this enchanting gala. But the carnival did not end there. In a pas de deux of creativity and inclusivity, Travers Park welcomed a new Inclusive ADA-accessible playground/splash-pad, a sparkling oasis of delight, designed to embrace every child's laughter and every splash of imagination. The renovated bicycle skills course swirled like a ballet dancer on wheels, enchanting riders young and old.

Nature herself danced in delight as Travers Park's landscape underwent a metamorphosis. Drainage and landscaping improvements, like the gentle touch of a painter's brush, nurtured the grounds, while other park amenities, from quaint signage to cozy benches and charming picnic tables, became lyrical notes in this park symphony. But the show must go on, and future phases awaited their turn in the spotlight. The resurfaced tennis courts, smooth as a poet's sonnet, awaited their grand debut. The renovation of the existing parking lot, like a chorus waiting to sing in unison, looked forward to easing the flow of visitors. Meanwhile, the relocation of the existing maintenance building awaited its encore, and the new asphalt bicycle pump track, a ballet of adrenaline and excitement, rehearsed its performance.

Financing for this massive project required creative collaboration. Maeve's symphonic prowess weaved private donations like golden threads through the budget, adorning the "James E. Russell" Sports Center and Gateway/Plaza with philanthropic opulence. The skatepark expansion found its place in the Parks Capital Project Budget, while the Pend Oreille Pedalers joined forces for the $50,000 to $75,000 bike skills course renovation. But the pièce de résistance was the symphony of grants. A harmonious melody of funds, the inclusive playground and splash pad sought the Land Water Conservation Grant (LWCF) from the State of Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. Maeve conducted the pursuit with unyielding passion, and with the City's Parks Capital Projects budget as a match, the grant became a beautiful duet.

Maeve's vision crystallized into a transformative tale. A park no longer just a park but a living, breathing poem, echoing the desires of the community and orchestrating a symphony of joy for generations to come. Travers Park embraced a paradigm shift, and the heartwarming tale of its expansion will forever resonate like a timeless melody, touching the soul of all who enter its enchanted realm.

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