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Getting There: City Perk leaving STA Plaza after 11 years

Al Palm has operated City Perk in the STA Plaza for 11 years. Tuesday is the business’s last day in the location. (Dan Pelle)
Al Palm has operated City Perk in the STA Plaza for 11 years. Tuesday is the business’s last day in the location. (Dan Pelle)

City Perk at the Spokane Transit Authority Plaza downtown is moving on.

Owner Al Palm said he can’t afford the rent and is looking for another location in the downtown area.

After 11 years at the Plaza, he is closing the doors on Tuesday.

A Subway sandwich shop is moving in.

He leaves with some sadness, he said. “I enjoy my shop. Everybody down here I enjoy.”

But business hasn’t perked up since the recession hit in 2008, and tighter bus schedules have reduced the time riders have to stop for coffee or a sandwich, Palm said.

He had asked STA for a reduction from the $1,200 a month rent and was paying on a month-to-month basis.

STA was unable to grant a reduced amount, officials said.

Instead, the new contract with Subway will call for increases in the lease amount.

STA officials explained that they are obligated to be good stewards of public resources, and that requires them to get the most money they can out of the commercial space on the northwest side of the first floor of the Plaza.

“He is just an awesome guy,” said Molly Myers, spokeswoman for STA. “I absolutely wish him the best.”

Palm is well known for his outgoing, friendly manner. He remembers his customers’ favorite coffees and greets many of them by first name.

“I’m getting real sad,” regular Paula Pry said on Friday.

Customers Rebecca McCollough and Julie Vijarro stopped for their usual drinks: granitas.

“I love him,” McCollough said.

Vijarro summed it up: “He’s the perfect person for customers.”

Palm said, “I’m going to do something else. I’ve just got to find a location.”

Street projects

Work to rebuild 29th Avenue from Grand Boulevard to High Drive will begin Thursday at 6 a.m. The work will close the street.

Motorists will have to find a detour around the $2.7 million construction project, which will include a new 12-inch water line.

Funds for the project are coming from a voter-approved street bond issue and the water department.

To the east, repair work is being done on Perry Street from 29th to 37th avenues.

On the North Side, several segments of residential streets are being rehabilitated in the vicinity of Madison Elementary School, including Columbia Avenue, Franklin Court and Calispel Street.

Also, Lidgerwood Street from North to Francis avenues is under rehabilitation.

Hazel’s Creek pond

A new Hazel’s Creek retention pond to handle South Side stormwater near Ferris High School will include new pedestrian paths. The pond will capture water and allow it to infiltrate into the ground. The $188,000 project will enhance the existing wetland there.

I-90 work suspension

For holiday travelers driving to the West Side, work will be suspended starting Tuesday on the huge Interstate 90 widening project east of Hyak along Keechelus Lake.

However, crews will close the freeway for rock blasting today from 8 to 9 p.m.

Driver’s ed expanded

Liberty Lake has joined Spokane County’s driver’s education program to allow motorists who get tickets to take a six-hour class instead of paying a fine. Cost of the class is $124.

The city and Spokane County commissioners have joined forces through an interlocal agreement.

Eligible drivers must apply for the class in person at the Spokane County District Court window inside the Public Safety Building, 1100 W. Mallon Ave., or the court window at the Spokane Valley police precinct station, 12710 E. Sprague Ave.

The program is called Collision Avoidance, Reduction and Education School.

Evergreen restriction

In Spokane Valley, Evergreen Road will be open only to local traffic from just south of 16th Avenue to 24th Avenue.

Work is continuing on Sprague Avenue from Sullivan Road to the 14900 block of Sprague. Crews are building the south side of Sprague in the second phase of the four-phase project this summer.

Texting ban in Idaho

Idaho on Sunday joined Washington in outlawing the use of text messaging while driving.

Until now, Idaho has had a misdemeanor charge of inattentive driving. The new law makes text messaging while driving an infraction.

The penalty is $81.50 in fines and court charges.

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