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More Multi-family Units in Store for Liberty Lake

in Featured/Other News
apartment construction in Liberty Lake

Centennial Properties has applied for a Binding Site Plan to allow the construction of 408 multi-family units on the rear half of the property adjacent to the new Ridgeline High School with approximately an additional 340,000 sq. ft. of future commercial on the half of the property that fronts Country Vista Drive.

Lisa Keys, Director/Planner, of Liberty Lake Planning, Engineering & Building, states, “They have gone through SEPA and technical review, while the project is “approvable,” they were required to submit some revisions based upon the technical review. We are waiting on their revisions to issue a final written decision that would then allow them to bring forward a final binding site plan and record of survey to record, which is necessary for them to close on the property. After that, they would still need to submit building permits, go through design review, etc.”

The property owner, Centennial Properties, has a potential buyer who is planning to take over the “Liberty Lake Multi-Family” Binding Site Plan (a.k.a. “Katerra BSP”) project, but the Planning, Engineering & Building office has not yet received the updated submittals. Therefore, they do not know the official name of the entity taking over the project (at present, the applicant is Centennial). 

Keys states, “Given the timeline to finalize the Preliminary Binding Site Plan, and record the final Binding Site Plan and record of survey (which are necessary for the buyer to close on the property), I do not think they will even have closed on the property until later this fall.  Beyond that, I do not know what their intended schedule is.”

Click here to view Mixed Use Binding Site Plan

Keeping the Kids Healthy and Active this Summer

in Featured/Other News/Things to Do in Liberty Lake
summer fun for kids in Liberty Lake

Located only 20 minutes from downtown Spokane, the population of Liberty Lake is growing by leaps and bounds. In the past five years, the number of students enrolled in the CVSD grades K-12 has grown from 13,000 to 14,000 and is expected to continually rise.

As the number of students climb, the district continues to add programs and resources for students and parents alike: From enrichment classes and athletics to free summer meals for kids ages 1-18.

Below is a list of some of the programs offered to school aged students enrolled in the district. However, families are encouraged to contact their child’s school for more details and to obtain a full list of activities.

  • Spokane Valley Tech – Exploring high-growth careers: Students enrolled in grades 8-11 are encouraged to attend at no cost. Successful completion of each session earns a .5 elective/CTE credit. Two sessions are offered: June 17–July 2 and July 8–23, both from 7:30am –2:30pm. Students may attend up to one class per session.
  • Active4Youth – offers Cross Country. They believe that by teaching sports and introducing healthy activities to children at a young age, they can begin to address the alarming rise of childhood obesity while providing children with a safe place to play after school.
  • Free Summer Meals for Kids (Ages 1-18): “We provide a complete breakfast and lunch program for all students – serving approximately 1700 breakfasts and 6000 lunches every day in our district. We are proud to provide meals that focus on whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Our meals are low in sodium and saturated fat, and meet or exceed nutritional requirements established by the USDA National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. We are dedicated to providing high-quality, kid-friendly meals with a focus on food safety, customer service, and cost effectiveness,” from the Nutrition Services tab on the website.

The Liberty Lake Municipal Library offers activities for all ages of students:

  • Lego Club – All Ages
  • Move & Grove – Ages 0-5, Move, Shake, Sing and Dance during music and dance “storytime”
  • Chess Club – Ages 6-10 and 11 & up. This is a 6 week summer Chess Club
  • Toddler Tales – Ages 0-5, this is geared more towards 2-3 year olds, however all children are welcome. Playtime follows storytime.
  • Teen Program – Cupcake Wars for Ages 11 & up
  • Tween Crafts – Ages 11 & up

Contact the Library for more information and a complete list of activities 509-232-2510

Skyhawks Summer Day Camps – Offer a fun, safe and positive environment for your child during the summer months. Campers are introduced to a new sport every week, participate in arts, crafts, swimming and field trips.

Skyhawks Sports Academy – offers 12 different sports camps and clinics including summer day camps and year-round after-school programs.

Super Tots Sports Academy – sports programs for kids ages 18 months to 5 ½ years of age!

For more information on Skyhawks camps, go to

Tradition of Dueling Fireworks to Continue on Fourth

in Featured/Other News/Things to Do in Liberty Lake
Fourth of July parade in Liberty Lake

It helps to be tall on Independence Day in Liberty Lake.

Once again, altitudinous attendees at the Fourth of July celebration in Pavillion Park will have improved odds of seeing fireworks overhead while also catching portions of a lakeside display taking place in the distance.

Since 2015, a fireworks program sponsored by the city of Liberty Lake has gone head-to-head with the long-running Liberty Lake Fireworks Display, an effort entirely funded by community donations. For the fifth straight year, both shows will begin at 10 p.m.

“I think most fireworks displays start at 10,” said Liberty Lake City Administrator Katy Allen. “We’ve never talked about moving it. I suppose it could be considered.”

The lakefront show has been running for over 30 consecutive years with Liberty Lake native Denise Coyle overseeing the process. Her grandfather Homer Neyland started the first incarnation of fireworks over the lake in the 1950s. Local historian Ross Schneidmiller brought the popular show back before turning it over to Coyle.

“The people who donate to this display are never disappointed,” Coyle said. “People are very supportive. I’ve seen a lot of new names (donating) this year.”

Coyle said overall cost of the display this year will run $12,000. Allen said the city’s fireworks budget for 2019 is hovering just under $11,000.

Coyle recalls some easiness when the city announced in early 2015 that it would be getting into the fireworks business. City Council approved the idea that February.

“We were a little nervous at the get-go,” Coyle said. “But I think it’s gone fine. When we get a chance to share a day like this, it’s pretty neat.”

fireworks over Liberty Lake
The Liberty Lake Fireworks Display has been illuminating the local waterfront for over 30 years. This year’s version will begin at 10 p.m. on July 4, the same time as a show sponsored by the city of Liberty Lake over Pavillion Park.

When only one fireworks festival appeared on the local schedule, donations were accepted at Pavillion Park on the Fourth while groups like Friends of Pavillion Park and Liberty Lake Kiwanis pitched in funds of their own. When the city moved up to share the stage, Coyle said fundraising took a hit.

“Initially, it did hurt us,” she said.

Allen said the city began discussions of putting on its own program after July 4, 2014.

“It was a combination of traffic issues and logistical issues with people who couldn’t see the fireworks,” she said. “People would come to hear the music at the park and to see the fireworks after but they couldn’t see the fireworks.”

Allen said she “has never sensed the competition” between the two shows, although there has been some feedback that fireworks are not the best use of taxpayers’ money. She has also heard at least one complaint about the noise and air pollution during and after the display.

“The people who don’t enjoy it are vocal,” she said. “The people who enjoy it usually don’t say much. Overall, it’s been well-received. Many people in Liberty Lake can watch it from their homes.”

For Coyle, this year’s program will include special poignancy. Her mother, Mary Floy Dolphin, passed away in March at the age of 90. Mary called the lake home for 78 years. Coyle said the fireworks’ organizer is planning a special tribute to Mary as part of the show.

“She loved the lake and she loved the fireworks,” Coyle said.

Donations to the community display are being collected outside Safeway and at he Liberty Lake Farmers Market. Coyle’s husband, Tim, is a catalyst on the fundraising front. Coyle said she has veered away from pursuing a corporate sponsor, saying she intends to keep “the country, hometown feel.”

“People ask me, ‘Why don’t you get a corporate sponsor?’” she said. “We don’t want to do that. There was a display in Seattle that had a corporate sponsor one year when the economy was bad and they bailed out two weeks before the event. My philosophy is to let the people who donate have ownership of the display.”

Those interested in supporting Liberty Lake Community Fireworks Display can send donations to P.O. Box 430, Liberty Lake, WA. 99019 or go to

“We do our thing and they do theirs,” Coyle said of the concurrent lake/city shows. “It doesn’t really bother me. It’s a wonderful day.”

Fourth of July events this year include:

The 31st annual Liberty Lake Fourth of July Community Parade through the Alpine Shores neighborhood. Parade lineup will begin at 11 a.m. with the procession beginning at noon. Decorated golf carts, scooters, strollers and bikes are welcome. Games and food will follow at the Alpine Shores common area. Pat and Mike Lutzenberger will serve as this year’s parade grand marshals.

Concert and fireworks in Pavillion Park featuring Twenty Dollar Bill, The Rub and Tuxedo Junction. Music begins at 5:30 p.m. Liberty Lake Kiwanis will be selling concessions.

Spine Support – Friends of the Library Utilizes Creative Fundraising

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Liberty Lake library

What do Greenstone Homes, a pair of chihuahuas and a couple of local service clubs have in common?

All are stepping up to support their community library.

Judi Owens
Liberty Lake resident Judi Owens is constructing a quilt as a fundraiser for Friends of the Liberty Lake Municipal Library. Owens was part of the first community library committee after the vote for Liberty Lake incorporation passed in 2000.

When Liberty Lake resident and seasoned quilter Judi Owens pitched an idea for a unique fundraiser to Friends of the Liberty Lake Municipal Library, the concept took off. Donors will have their names embroidered on the spines of books sewn onto a quilt that will be displayed at the library as a blend of decorative blanket and legacy wall. .

So far, the list of philanthropists includes local businesses like Greenstone, service clubs like Kiwanis and Rotary, a collection of families and individuals and “Rico,” a chihuahua belonging to Steve and Charmaine Peterson. “Pecos,” the Peterson’s dog who passed away last year, will also be represented on a spine of his own.

“I thought this was some way I could contribute,” said Owens who served as a City Council member for 10 years beginning in 2001. “I feel I have an investment in Liberty Lake. I hope people think of me as someone who has a heart for this community.”

Time is running out to reserve a spine. Orders must be placed by the end of June. A trio of levels are available for donors starting with Silver ($50 to $249); Gold ($250 to $499) and Platinum ($500 and up). Owens says she plans to have the quilt ready by some point this summer.

Local businesses, families, individuals and service clubs are to be represented on a quilt that will be displayed at the Liberty Lake Municipal Library.

“This is going to be an heirloom for the library,” said Friends President Holly Woodruff. “We laugh that we can envision it on “Antiques Roadshow” one day. This is a way you can have your name associated as a contributor to this cause.”

Woodruff said funds raised through the quilt project and other Friends’ efforts help ensure that library programming is available year-round. That means everything from Lego Club to drop-in computer classes to Nerf Wars and more. Support from Friends has also secured free passes to the Mobius Science Center and Spokane Symphony.

“The library does so much but the funding it gets from the city’s property tax goes toward salaries, building maintenance, some purchase of books and a few other things,” Woodruff said. “Without funding from the Friends of the Library, the library wouldn’t be able to put on this programming.”

After the vote for Liberty Lake incorporation passed in November 2000, Owens was part of a committee that began discussing plans for a municipal library. When the city secured a small space in the Greenstone building, Owens helped procure donated bookshelves from the Central Valley School District where she worked at the time.

Funds raised by Friends of the Liberty Lake Municipal Library sustain year-round programming at the library.

In addition to donor names, Owens says she plans to include images on the quilt representing the city and longtime Library Director Pamela Mogen who retired last year.

Woodruff said Friends continues to operate with a low overhead of around 1 percent. Annual membership dues are only $10. The group meets at the library on the last Wednesday of each month at 2 p.m.

“It’s great being part of something that is such a central part of Liberty Lake,” Woodruff said. “This is our community center.”

On July 24, Friends will host “A Summer Soiree” at Liberty Lake Wine Cellars from 6 to 8:30 p.m. After a successful inaugural event last year, the agenda will remain much the same with lawn games, hor d’oeuvres and gourmet desserts. Wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 per person. The musical stylings of the Anne and Dan duo will also be featured. Theme baskets will be offered as part of a silent auction.

“Ticket sales for the first soiree cleared $1,200,” Woodruff said.

Tickets for “A Summer Soiree” are available at the library and Liberty Lake Wine Cellars.

To donate to the quilt project and have a name included on a book spine, email Holly Woodruff by June 30 at

Dirt is Moving in Liberty Lake (images)

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Orchard Park with splash pad. Pavilion, townhouses, kiosk to be constructed soon.



Ridgeline High School site prep is underway. Expected opening is Fall 2021.



Mission and Harvest roundabout connecting the new middle school to Orchard Park.


Selkirk Middle School nearly complete. Expected to open Fall 2019.


Photos from Liberty Lake Farmers Market Opening Day 2019

in Other News/Things to Do in Liberty Lake

Photography by Craig Howard

“Please do NOT pick up young wildlife”

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Every spring/summer the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife receives numerous calls from individuals claiming they’ve seen or worse yet, have picked up, what they believe to be abandoned baby wildlife.

Liberty Lake has an abundance of recreational land and many people will begin to cross paths with deer, elk, moose, bear, birds, etc. Which also means, you will be seeing a lot of babies from those species soon, if you haven’t already.

WDFWStaci Lehman of the WDFW states, “Many people see baby animals alone in the wild and assume they have been abandoned. 99.9% of the time this is not the case…deer for instance, as a defense mechanism, parents stay somewhat far away from fawns for hours at a time as they forage so as not to draw predators to their offspring. If a cougar, beer or other predator happens onto the deer, it can run, leading the predator away.”

It is not uncommon for baby birds to be mistaken for abandoned or injured. Mothers commonly “kick” babies out of the nest as a way to learn to fly and to move along when it is time (kind of like sending your kid off to college). If picked up by humans, parents will often not take the babies back, pretty much resulting in a death sentence.

WDFWLehman states, “In the Spokane area, there is only one wildlife rehabber, Ponti Veterinary, so when animals are picked up, they are the only option. WDFW doesn’t have the resources or infrastructure to care for “rescued” animals so they have to, by law, go to a rehabber. Rehabbing animals takes a lot of time and money so most vets aren’t able to do it. Ponti often has a full house and can’t always take more wild animals. So again, intervening in nature can result in a death sentence.”

The WSU Veterinary School is caring for several juvenile animals that should have been left in the care of Mother Nature, including two barn owlets, four screech owlets, two coyote pups, one mink kit, three raccoon kits, two pigeon squab, and one great-horned owl.

When humans intervene, animals often have to be put down. Another fact most people are not aware of, is it is illegal to transport wildlife.

If you’d like more information on this topic, please go to

Fishing Liberty Lake is the Reel Deal

in Featured/Other News/Things to Do in Liberty Lake
Liberty Lake dock

Every year, many anglers flock to open waters; whether to take in some sun, play on water toys or to enjoy a relaxing day of fishing.

Liberty Lake offers just over 700 acres of fun for all ages. The lake opens for fishing March 1st and remains open through October 31st. March has been notorious for outstanding brown trout fishing just after ice-out, but once the water begins warming up anglers have the opportunity to catch yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, brown bullhead and both large and smallmouth bass.

Each year, during the end of March or the beginning of April, the lake is stocked with fish by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. In early April of this year, the lake was stocked with rainbow trout. It also received several hundred bonus fish that were left over from the fishing ponds at the annual Big Horn Show.

There is currently one public launch and many private or community boat launches around the lake. Staci Lehman, Communications Manager for the Eastern Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) advised that the WDFW will be redeveloping the current boat launch by repaving, repainting lines and replacing broken or missing concrete. “The current two toilets will be replaced with new up-to-code ADA toilets and the floating dock will be bigger. I don’t have an exact date for this to happen and it won’t be this year. We’re looking at sometime within the next couple of years,” states Lehman.

WDFW is encouraging Washington residents to take advantage of free fishing weekend. Beginning on Saturday, June 8, licensing restrictions will be lifted through Sunday June 9. It’s a great opportunity to grab your poles and hook some memories.

Liberty Lake boat lunch

From Shrub Monster to Dueling Squirrels – Screen Tek’s Foliage Saga

in Business Spotlight/Community Spotlight/Featured/Other News
Screen Tek shrub monster

It may have been the closest thing Liberty Lake ever came to Bigfoot.

When the Weeping Blue Spruce outside Screen Tek Inc. on Appleway began to take on a life of its own, longtime employees like Emily Synold recall bypassers stopping by to gawk. A co-worker had added a pair of giant googly eyes, transforming the massive shrub into a leafy version of the Abominable Snowman.

“We’d see people in the parking lot, taking pictures,” Synold said.

Screen Tek, a manufacturer of custom-made printed graphics, has called Liberty Lake home since 1988, six years after it was founded. Sybold said the company’s most recognizable plant “just kind of started to weep the wrong way.” A dense, sprawling version of the Evergreen Tree, the Weeping Blue Spruce is known for growing in a narrowly upright and columnar fashion. Screen Tek’s spruce was positioned just to the right of the main entrance, scaling over 10 feet and acting as a foreboding de facto gatekeeper.

“It was a novelty that was fun and kind of cute but you had to walk around it,” said Screen Tek co-owner Scott Mader who purchased the company last year with his wife Miesha. “We had customers that would have to duck to get in.”

Screen Tek squirrelsEarlier this year, the decision was made to retire Screen Tek’s most famous landscape landmark. Don Nelson of Tree Artistry in Otis Orchards, who trims the foliage around the Screen Tek property, transformed the tree into a carved piece of art featuring two squirrels scrambling for an acorn. The Screen Tek Inc. acronym, in patriotic red, white and blue, is also part of the design.

“It had really become too overgrown,” Mader said. “It had its time. Some folks wanted to keep it, others wanted it to come down. We were just more concerned about our customers scraping their heads.”

Synold, who has worked for Screen Tek since 1997, said the transition from shrub monster to dueling squirrels has been accepted in stride.

“There may have been some people who were a little sad that it went away but there was no protest or anything,” she said.

Mader said Liberty Lake’s rendition of a non-deciduous Sasquatch will be remembered fondly.

“After the eyeballs were added, people were like, ‘What’s the deal with this?’” he said. “It was just kind of this weird company mascot that will always be part of Screen Tek lore.”

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