Mission Park is one of my favorite parks in the entire park system. It is fairly centrally located for gatherings. (And only 1.2 miles from our office.) It is right on the Centennial Trail. It is next to a pool. It has an adaptive ball field, senior exercise equipment, a splash pad and playground equipment that will keep my kids entertained for hours. It's a terrific place to study for exams...though it is more suited to that in the spring than the winter. It has tennis courts and horseshoe courts and basketball courts. Did I mention that my kids will happily play there for hours?
I first discovered Mission Park during an end-of-year celebration for my daughter's preschool. We were still new to town, and hadn't yet explored Spokane beyond the routes to work, school, the grocery store and the post office. At that point, Mission Park hadn't yet been updated to include the senior-friendly and universally adaptive features that it has now. It was a terrific park, but for some reason we didn't get back there again for quite some time.
Then I started running. Through Riverfront Park, under the bridges, along Gonzaga's campus, over that bridge that always seemed to want to kill me, along the river and to Mission Park. Mission Park became in my mind the place of rest. Where I could stop running for just a bit before either turning around and heading back the way I came, or where I could stop and wait for the crosswalk. (Oh the blessing of a red light encouraging me to stop and breathe.) Mission Park was where we ran sprints and tempo runs and fartleks.
And then I met a donor who had grown up across from Mission Park and still lived in the same house, and I
got to see Mission Park through her eyes. Summers spent lying in the shade of the huge trees. Games of tag and hide and seek. Picnics with friends.
You see everyone at a park. There is no entrance fee. There are no doors to close to keep people out. Parks welcome everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Mission Park is the epitome of that kind of community gathering place. Kids enjoying a day out. Teens playing basketball. Runners sprinting by. People just hanging out and relaxing.
It's my kind of park.