For decades, riding a bike west on the Centennial Trail out of downtown Spokane entailed pedaling next to cars, waiting at red lights and navigating rutted roads.
By the end of summer, that will be just a memory.
The Spokane City Council voted Monday night to use almost $2 million in state grants to buy four acres of land from Greenstone Corp., which owns the fast-moving Kendall Yards development on the north side of the Spokane River just west of downtown. As part of the land deal, Greenstone will build almost 3 miles of trail, 12 feet wide and not part of any road.
“It’s monumental, honestly,” Jason Wheaton, president of Greenstone, said of not just the trail his company is building, but also of two other projects adding to the 37-mile-long Centennial Trail.
Directly to the north of the Kendall Yards addition, a half-mile of trail will be added later this year with an estimated $650,000 in federal money. And work is already underway connecting Riverfront Park to the new trail extensions, with a path that goes through Veterans Park and underneath the Monroe Street Bridge.
In all, a new trail will stretch from the west end of Riverfront Park to the intersection of North Summit Boulevard and West Boone Avenue in the West Central neighborhood.
Wheaton, who also sits on the board of Friends of the Centennial Trail, said a completed Centennial Trail has long been in the works.
“It’s a concept that honestly goes all the way back to the 1990s,” he said. “We’re just trying to implement it.”