One of the biggest gaps in the Centennial Trail was officially filled Friday with the opening of a scenic mile-and-a-half-long stretch of new trail through Kendall Yards.
The trail segment features a stunning view under the Monroe Street Bridge toward the lower Spokane Falls as well as a bird’s-eye view of the river from the edge of the downstream gorge.
Dozens of people – walkers, runners and bicyclists – turned out during the noon hour Friday for a ribbon-cutting.
Officials said the new trail segment is essentially a linear park that takes advantage of the scenic river overlook in the emerging Kendall Yards housing and commercial development.
The city used a $2 million state grant to buy 2.7 acres of land along the gorge from Kendall Yards’ developer. That property is now part of the gorge conservation holdings on both sides of the river.
In addition, Greenstone Corp., the developer, contributed the 0.85 acres of land that the trail occupies.
Greenstone used the grant purchase to build the trail, said Leroy Eadie, Spokane parks director.
Paving beneath the Monroe Street Bridge and in Veterans Court of Riverfront Park was donated by Kendall Yards.
The 12-foot-wide asphalt trail includes a concrete turnout just west of the bridge for viewing the falls. The lawn, steps, seating and courtyard next to the trail are located outside Central Food restaurant, 1335 W. Summit Parkway, at the heart of Kendall Yards.
Jim Frank, CEO of Greenstone Corp., said the trail lives up to a century-old recommendation from the nationally renowned Olmsted brothers for a great gorge park.
“It’s a project that’s been going on for 100 years,” he said of the trail completion. “It’s humbling and an honor to be part of it.”
Frank credited a line of property owners and public officials – as well as the West Central neighborhood – for keeping the land under single ownership and making the new trail segment a reality.
The 61-mile Centennial Trail, which stretches from Nine Mile Falls to Higgens Point on Lake Coeur d’Alene, was initially built to commemorate the Washington Centennial in 1989.
A portion of the new trail was included in a stormwater tank project on the northwest end of the Monroe bridge. The underground tank will serve as a local treatment and evaporation system for drainage from Monroe Street and the east end of Kendall Yards.