A controversial shoreline trail at a Spokane hotel is being paved and widened under pressure from City Hall.
The owners of Cavanaugh’s River Inn last month installed a 6-foot-wide strip of asphalt on top of what previously had been a gravel trail.
They also have agreed to widen the trail to 10 feet.
The hotel’s trail connects to others, including the Centennial Trail, on the riverbank downtown.
Construction of the section at River Inn has been under dispute for years.
In 1994, the hotel owners agreed to build a 10-foot-wide trail with a hard surface.
Last spring, they installed an 8-foot-wide gravel trail and a section of boardwalk adjacent to the hotel restaurant.
Cavanaugh’s is owned by Goodale & Barbieri Cos.
City officials said they weren’t satisfied with the gravel trail, so they sent letters to the owners this summer and worked out an agreement.
“I was concerned they didn’t do what they said they were going to do,” said Irving Reed, manager of planning and engineering for the city. “It’s still not essentially 10 feet wide.”
Reed said he encouraged Lou Barbieri, a founder of the company, to install the 10-foot width of pavement. He said Barbieri has agreed to the request.
An official of G&B; declined to talk about specifics of the trail, but said the improvements have been popular.
“We are pleased the public likes the trail,” said Richard Barbieri, a company attorney. “They seemed to have liked it from the very beginning.”
G&B; has posted the trail off-limits to bicyclists and roller skaters. Public access is allowed only during daylight hours.
City parks officials and advocates for the Centennial Trail sought a 12-foot-wide trail that would be open to all users as an alternate route to the Centennial Trail on the south bank.
Trail sections on the Gonzaga University campus to the east and at other developments to the west are unrestricted, paved and 12 feet wide.
Cavanaugh’s owners resisted that kind of trail.
They said they want to preserve their section of trail for strollers and those seeking a quiet experience along the riverbank.
The Cavanaugh’s pathway meanders to the left and right. It is lined with plants and has park benches for sitting and watching the river.
A shoreline permit issued when the hotel was expanded in the mid-1970s called for construction of some type of trail. The city never enforced the shoreline provision until parks officials and Centennial Trail advocates came up with the idea of a loop route on the north and south banks.
A member of the Centennial Trail board said the new pavement at Cavanaugh’s is an improvement.
“I think it’s very close to fulfilling their obligation we agreed upon,” said board member Greg Bever. “It’s sure better than what we had before and that was nothing.”