SPOKANE, Wash. – The lawsuit filed over the South Hill bluff near Qualchan Golf Course that was mistakenly logged and bulldozed is closer to being dismissed.
Avista, the City Parks and Recreation Department, a golf organization called First Tee and Swedberg Contracting were all part of the project. Although no one took responsibility for authorizing the tree removal and creating the road, a settlement agreement was reached in a lawsuit filed by the Bracher family. They own part of the land that was bulldozed.
In January, the Spokane Parks Board approved an option for the city to buy 50 acres of land from the Bracher family for $270,000. As part of a settlement agreement, the city has until the end of this year to buy it, but the parks director told me they wanted to purchase it right away. That has not happened yet though.
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The park board plans to vote on the final resolution to purchase the land at a meeting on March 8. But whether or not the city buys it, they are required to pay an option fee of $5,000. The money will go toward the cost of the land but they do not get it back if they do not buy it.
Ryan Yahne, the attorney for the Bracher family, released a statement saying, "The Bracher family is happy to move past this unfortunate situation that resulted in this lawsuit. Now, we are hopeful the City will make the right decision and exercise its option to buy the property for the benefit of its citizens."
As for the other parties involved, Swedberg, the contractor, had to pay the Bracher family $75,000, First Tee paid $85,000 and Avista had to pay $20,000, for a grand total of $180,000.
All parties signed the settlement agreement but it still needs to be signed by the judge.