Call it coincidence, but the Centennial Trail is celebrating its 25th anniversary by christening a new portion of Mile 25.
The half-mile stretch – called Mile 25 – is notable for its views of the river and separation from any road, allowing trail users a bit of solitude. Its separation also gives the trail a Class 1 designation, said Loreen McFaul, executive director of Friends of the Centennial Trail. That means 34 of the 37 miles of the Centennial Trail carry such a classification.
McFaul called the new section “a beautiful reality,” and said that in the fall, volunteers will plant 500 seedlings along the new stretches of the trail. Her group also is working with Eastern Washington University’s Urban and Regional Planning Program to install directional signage along the route and beyond.
The new section connects Bridge Avenue to Boone Avenue along an abandoned railroad bed paralleling Summit Boulevard and extends north from the Kendall Yards gap, a piece of the trail built last year. Altogether, a new 12-foot wide ribbon of tarmac stretches from downtown Spokane along the edge of the river gorge for 2 miles.
Work for the latest addition began at the end of March and cost $490,000, which was paid for as part of the federally funded Centennial Trail Gap Project.
McFaul said she’ll support a study looking at closing the last of the trail gaps between the newly finished piece and its entrance to Riverside State Park near the T.J. Meenach Bridge.
Jim Frank, the head of Greenstone Corp., which is developing Kendall Yards, said the new trail meant more than just simple recreation.
“The history of Spokane and, I think, our cultural and economic strength have come from this river,” he said. “This trail opens up a section of the river that we’ve not often been able to see.”