Planning the future of Riverfront Park | News
The history of Spokane seems to revolve around its central landmark, Riverfront Park. The acreage started as a rail yard, trains shuffling in and out with the clock tower always marking the time.
The landscape transformed into the foundation for Expo ‘74, building amenities that residents still use today. Now it’s time to talk about the next set of changes. It won’t happen today, but down the road, the conversations we have now are what will shape the park’s future.
It’s the same rigorous planning that brought the residents of Spokane the Rotary Fountain entrance and the rebuilt gondola swinging over the waterfalls of the Spokane River.
From an extension of the Sky Ride spanning over the park, to an art walk that could extend to Kendall Yards, the City of Spokane’s park and recreation planning department is returning to their on-going master plan to figure out what to do next.
The last time the city took a look at their Master Plan was in 2000. On the plate during that conversation was a project-based plan to explore building a science center and a new IMAX theatre.
Recreation manager for parks and recreation, Craig Butz, says the master plan was never totally completed and it wasn’t approved by the Park Board either.
“Some of the elements of the plan were nitpicked and we started implementing those. We did a few of those recommended changes, but it wasn’t under the authorized master plan,” Butz said.
Parts of that plan evaluated to either renovate or build a brand new gondola. They ultimately chose to rebuild it, an action that happened five years later in 2005.
A similar plan for this master plan go-around would extend a Sky Ride over the park, landing either close to the Looff Carousel or connected with the expanded convention center. Butz stresses that this is all the conceptual design and only part of phase one.
A set of community meetings will ask for input from interested parties. Those suggestions could affect the final draft of the Conceptual Master Plan that they’ll seek full Park Board approval in July. If approved, phase two begins.
“We’ll have to start taking a look at a business plan approach, trying to prioritize those and start working on a implementation plan. This is going to be a very fluid document,” Butz said.
These meetings are the building foundation for whatever is to come in the park. The park features your children enjoy ten years may be brainstormed next week.
If you go, here are the meeting dates and locations. A survey will be handed out for you to fill out. You’ll also go home with the survey link found online so you can share it with your friends, neighbors and family.
- May 24th, 6-8 p.m. - West Central Community Center, 1603 W. Belt
- May 29th, 6-8 p.m. - Southside Senior Activity Center, 3151 E. 27th Ave.
- May 31th. 6-8 p.m. - Hillyard Senior Center, 4001 N. Cook St.