I read with interest the recent Spokesman-Review articles quoting the city of Spokane’s Jan Quintrall in her efforts to promote attractive gateway/corridors into Spokane at various Interstate 90 off-ramps. While I support the gateways concept, I think that purchasing or threatening to condemn target properties (i.e., Santillanes’ at Third Avenue and Division Street, and the Trade Winds Motel at Monroe Street and Third) is an expensive, half-baked plan in this economy, and sends the wrong message to property owners: adversarial v. cooperative.
Given the city’s budget shortfall and lack of funds, a better plan might be to give the owner/developer of targeted properties tax credits or nominal payment for a beautification easement on a portion of the flaking properties. The city would provide oversight to ensure a quality landscape screen that would be a credit to both developer and the citizens of Spokane. This is not a new concept, has worked elsewhere, will save the taxpayers’ money and will promote the city’s vision as a desirable, progressive city.