November 8, 2013 in City

Spokane visitor center closes its doors

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane’s downtown Visitor Information Center has closed in favor of information kiosks in local malls and a mobile center that’s expected to debut in the spring.

Located at Browne Street and Main Avenue – both one-way streets – the center was too hard to get to from Interstate 90, said Tim Robinson, Visit Spokane’s director of communications.

A 2012 study concluded “the VIC was not in a good spot,” he said.

About 14,000 people a year stopped by the Spokane center, which cost Visit Spokane about $39,000 a year to operate, Robinson said.

In contrast, the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center serves about 17,000 visitors a year, a spokeswoman for that agency said.

The Spokane visitor center closed on Halloween and a visitor information kiosk opened the next day at River Park Square, Robinson said.

Visit Spokane expects to open another kiosk in the Spokane Valley Mall, he said.

A mobile unit should be ready to go by spring, to stop by community festivals and other gatherings, he said.

Visit Spokane also will look for another site downtown to reopen a permanent Visitor Information Center, he said. The desired site would be “in a very accessible place to our visitors,” Robinson said. “Riverfront Park would be a dream location.”

The Visitor Information Center at Browne and Main was built in 1995 at a cost of $247,000, according to previously published reports.

The city of Spokane owns the site, while Visit Spokane’s predecessor, the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, raised money to construct the building there.

The city will offer the former visitors center for lease, said city spokesman Brian Coddington.

The building has 2,600 square feet of space, with surrounding parking.

“It’s probably best suited for some type of retail use,” Coddington said.

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