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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Riverfront Park

City of Spokane plans park/streets meetings

Spokane city officials will hold six public meetings this month on their plan to refinance bonds to raise money for street maintenance and the proposed Riverfront Park Master Plan.

The proposal involves refinancing three older bond issues, paying them off and raising an extra $25 million for streets and $60 million for the Riverfront Park plan. It would pay off the 1999 park bonds, the 2004 street bonds and the 2007 pool bonds, leaving the 91 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation in place, but extending it for 20 years. The two older bonds are due to expire this year, although the 2007 pool bonds have another 16 years.

City officials liken the plan to a homeowner refinancing to take advantage of lower interest rates.

For a look at the meeting schedule, click here to go inside the blog.

  

City Hall Scoop: Foot bridges and vegetated roofs

There were enough members for a quorum, but the dais was a bit spare at Monday's regularly scheduled Spokane City Council meeting.

Councilman Jon Snyder, acting as council president pro tem in Ben Stuckart's stead, politely led the charge through the hour-long meeting. Councilman Mike Allen was also absent. 

Members voted on an emergency spending request put forth by Snyder to shift $350,000 out of general fund reserves to pay for comprehensive inspections on 11 bridges, mainly in Riverfront Park. Our previous story here said nine bridges would be checked, but two bridges on the Fish Lake trail were added. 

On his blog, Snyder said the bridges are “vital bike riding and walking links for our City, a City that has precious few places for those using non-motorized to cross our river.”

Kelly Cruz, who failed to get past this month's primary in the race to replace the term-limited Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin, spoke against spending so much money on inspections when he said some of them were thoroughly inspected four years ago by CH2M Hill.

“I just want to make sure we're not spending money on something we've already covered,” he said.

George McGrath, a vocal fixture at the council meetings, spoke against the plan.

It passed 5-0. Usually members light up a screen showing their yea's or nay's, but with Stuckart gone and city Attorney Mike Piccolo befuddled by his first time use of the electronics, Snyder called for a voice vote.

The council also approved a low impact development ordinance, which encourages developers to utilize innovated approaches dealing with stormwater.

As Councilwoman Amber Waldref said on her blog, “developers will be able to manage stormwater onsite either through traditional methods like swales OR choose rooftop gardens, rainwater collection or rain gardens on their properties. These will be optional, but it is a start for Spokane.”

We wrote about all of this earlier here. Check out the city's website on it here.

Bart Mihailovich, with the Spokane Riverkeeper, said the LID ordinance was an example of the city working across departments to solve problems. 

As for dealing with stormwater on site, Mihailovich said, “This is certainly the trend.”

It also passed 5-0.

Another resolution before the council regarding the appointment of committees to “prepare statements advocating voters' approval or rejection” of this year's ballot propositions was delayed for two weeks.

Finally, next week's meeting has been canceled in lieu of Labor Day.

Breaking Ground at Huntington Park

Flanked by earthmovers and pickups, with the Riverfront Park gondolas gliding overhead, Scott Morris talked fondly Tuesday of the year 1889, city parks, Spokane and the company he runs, Avista.

“We, in a sense, grew up together,” Morris said to a gathering of about 50 people from the city and Avista. The energy company was founded almost 125 years ago, and Manito and Riverfront parks were created, in part, by cooperation between his company and the city.

And now there’s another partnership between the city and energy company, and it will end with more outdoor public space.

As Morris and Spokane Mayor David Condon climbed into two bulldozers and moved some dirt around, a new Huntington Park moved that much closer to realization. The four-acre park runs along the lower Spokane Falls on the south side of the river. Huntington and Riverfront parks will be connected by a plaza running between City Hall and the old Washington Water Power building.

Spokane to close its IMAX at end of year

The IMAX at Riverfront Park only will be open for six months.

The Spokane Park Board on Thursday voted unanimously to close the theater after Dec. 31.

It will open for six months in the spring. Park officials estimated that shortening the schedule would save about $90,000.

Condon will take oath at Clocktower, Stuckart at MAC

Mayor-elect David Condon will take the oath of office in front of the Riverfront Park clocktower at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 30, the city announced this morning in a news release.

A reception will follow in the Carrousel.

Council President-elect Ben Stuckart will take his oath on Dec. 28 at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, where he serves on the board.

Council members-elect Mike Allen, Mike Fagan and Steve Salvatori will take their oaths at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 29 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

None of the new city officials will officially take office until midnight on Jan. 1, but under state law they must take the oath of office within 10 days prior to that time.

King Cole and Jimmy Carter

In honor of King Cole, whose memorial service is Thursday morning, I present what may be my favorite photo in The Spokesman-Review's great photo archives. It's from the grand opening of Riverfront Park.

Here's the caption:

President Jimmy Carter momentarily looks the wrong way as the flag is raised during his May 1978 visit to Spokane's Riverfront Park. King Cole, a major influence in bringing Expo '74 to Spokane points the direction to president should be facing. Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus (left) and former Spokane Mayor David Rodgers (2nd from left) watch the ceremony. File/The Spokesman-Review

Also to commemorate Cole, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has ordered flags at city-owned properties to fly at half-mast on Thursday and is encouraging others to also fly flags at half-mast.

Spokane's CityCable 5 announced this week that it will replay chats between Mayor Mary Verner and King Cole. The programs originally aired in 2008.

They will be shown at:

  • 6:30 p.m. Friday.
  • 9 p.m. Sunday.
  • 6 p.m. Monday.

Poundstone in the Park Saturday

The Spokane version of Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” will feature comedian Paula Poundstone Saturday, organizers said.

Poundstone is in Spokane for a couple of shows. Organizers asked her to come by Riverfront Park for the event. She said yes.

The rally is Stewart’s send-up of the Glenn Beck gathering at the Lincoln Memorial last August. Groups around the country (including Spokane Democrats) are sponsoring their local versions.

The Spokane rally is at noon, apparently designed to give participants a chance to watch the D.C. version (which starts at 9 a.m. Pacific) on the tube before heading downtown.

Still unclear: Just when did we have this sanity folks are talking about restoring?

“Sanity” rally coming to Spokane

Jon Stewart’s mock protest gathering, the Rally to Restore Sanity, will have a Spokane version on Oct. 30 in Riverfront Park.

As seen below, Stewart announced a send-up earlier this month of the Glenn Beck rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Whether intended or not, it struck a nerve and people started making plans to go to the National Mall and setting up satellite rallies around the country. Local organizers have set their gathering at Riverfront from 9 a.m. to noon.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Possible discussion topic: Would it take more work to restore sanity to Spokane than elsewhere? Would we be a better location for a satellite version of Stephen Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive?

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
March to Keep Fear Alive Announcement
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

The topsy-turvy politics of Conservation Futures and the YMCA

Spokane park leaders figured in November that the debate about the vacant downtown YMCA was about to end.

After all, the financial analysis demanded by City Council had just been released. It recommended accepting Spokane County’s offer to use Conservation Futures property taxes to pay off the city’s debt on the building. Councilman Mike Allen said the analysis had persuaded him to support the Park Board’s request to use the money, and Councilman Al French even sponsored the proposal for a council vote.

But opponents of spending Conservation Futures money on the Y successfully delayed action until Allen was replaced on the council by Jon Snyder, and French ended up siding against the resolution he sponsored.

That vote in late November sent the decision into extra innings, and city leaders decided to solicit bids on the property.

Park Board members never expressed much worry about the process. They said their work on the building over the years pointed to a bid process that would result in no proposals that would guarantee full repayment of the city’s debt. That guess turned out to be correct.

The question for supporters of securing the YMCA was finding a fourth vote.

Direction on YMCA becoming more uncertain

(First, because it’s not from our newspaper archives, I should start with information about the photo: It shows the Howard Street bridge and Havermale and Canada islands, sometime before 1927. There is vacant land southwest of the bridge where the downtown YMCA would be built in the mid-1960s. Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Spokane.)

It looks like March 22 will be the date the public will get to weigh in on the future of the Riverfront Park YMCA.

City Council President Joe Shogan announced that a public hearing will be scheduled for that date, though he added it could be delayed until March 29.

Councilman Steve Corker, who said earlier this week that it appeared that a majority of the council did not support the acceptance of Spokane County’s offer to use Conservation Futures property taxes to acquire the Riverfront Park YMCA, now says an outcome is unclear.

Council changed mind on Conservation Futures for Riverfront Park

First the Spokane City Council supported Conservation Futures, then it didn’t.

At the start of Monday, a majority of the Spokane City Council leaned in favor of accepting Spokane County’s offer to purchase the Riverfront Park YMCA, according to an e-mail Councilman Steve Corker sent to a constituent.

By the end of the day, however, the majority was lost.

So what happened?

It appears Chief Financial Officer Gavin Cooley successfully convinced at least one council member at a Monday meeting about the Y that a “third option” for paying off the city’s $4.4 million debt was better than using county Conservation Futures property taxes or development proposals that the city received late last month.

That third option isn’t yet defined, but, Cooley said, it could include higher hotel taxes, selling off park land or asking voters for more property taxes. He also reminded council members that the city once had a business and occupation tax to help pay for Expo ’74 improvements.

Responding to an e-mail from constituent Dawn Holladay, Councilman Steve Corker wrote on Monday afternoon: “I am in favor of using Conservation Futures monies for this site. I plan on voting the same this evening.”

(Not that the City Council could have voted for anything at the YMCA meeting because it was scheduled only for discussion.)

After Cooley’s presentation at the meeting, Corker appeared to have changed his mind.

Remain calm. Repeat: It’s only a drill

Spokane residents should not get too jumpy in the coming weeks as a couple of different groups run a couple of exercises here abouts.

Later this week, the U.S. Army Rangers will be conducting night time exercises at Fairchild Air Force Base. West Plains residents living nearby, and motorists driving by on Highway 2 or other byways, are likely to hear lots of low-flying aircraft — airplanes and helicopters — as well as gunfire. The ammunition isn’t live.

There won’t be anything to see, off-base, but it will be kind of noisy, from Thursday night through Monday night.

Then on Aug. 4, the Spokane Police Department will be holding a SWAT team demonstration involving a school bus, in a Riverfront Park parking lot north of the river off Washington Street. They’re hoping folks in the park and downtown workers don’t mistake it for the real thing.

When the smoke clears in the parks

The Spokane Park Board has banned smoking in city parks.. Sort of.

It might change its mind next Thursday after a public hearing on whether to ban smoking in city parks…But don’t count on it.

If the ban holds, a person who lights up in a city park might get the evil eye, or maybe a good talking to from someone who disapproves… But there won’t be any tickets or fines.

Here’s what’s going on, as best as anyone can tell…

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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