A resolution is in the works to a lawsuit filed after dozens of trees were bulldozed along the South Hill bluff near the Qualchan Golf Course in April of 2017. As part of a settlement agreement, the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department has agreed to purchase 50 acres where the road was built on private property owned by the Bracher family.
Several parties were involved in the road project – Avista, The City of Spokane Parks and Recreation, and First Tee, an organization that wanted to put a par three golf course for kids in the area – but none of them would take responsibility for authorizing the tree removal and creation of the road.
The Bracher family filed a lawsuit after it happened, saying they never gave anyone permission to work on their property. Parties involved told KREM2 they expect to have the pending lawsuit settled soon as a result of the agreement to purchase the land.
The Spokane Parks Board has approved authorization for the City of Spokane to purchase 50 acres of land from the Bracher family for $270,000. As part of the settlement agreement, the City of Spokane has a year to buy the land, but Spokane Parks Director Leroy Eadie says they want to purchase it right away.
“We're going to purchase the property immediately, we have the funds to be able to do that,” Eadie explained. “The Park Board has approved use of those funds and we're going to go forward to buy that property as soon as possible.”
The Bracher family attorney said they are happy with the resolution and believe it is a good outcome for everyone involved.
The attorney for the contractor who bulldozed the road, Swedberg Contracting, said they could not comment at this time.
City officials said they have wanted to purchase the Bracher family land for some time, so they are happy with the outcome as well.
“It’s a really good solution and if all parties are willing to sign this settlement agreement, and there’s something like five or six parties, everybody, I think, feels like we found a good win-win situation and we didn’t have to go to court,” Eadie said.
As for the land that was damaged, Eadie said Avista spent “a couple hundred thousand dollars” restoring the entire length of the road, about 1,300 linear feet, that was bulldozed.
Friends of the Bluff, a local organization, also helped the parks department restore the property.
City officials said the bulk of the work is done, but they will continue to monitor it.
“We think a great win for the citizens of Spokane in the process and they’re going to get a great, 50 acres to continue to recreate on,” Eadie said.