Spokane parks officials today will ask the city’s hearing examiner to approve a shoreline permit for a new access ramp for kayaks and small nonmotorized craft along the Centennial Trail at the Division Street Bridge.
A public hearing will be at 9 a.m. today in the Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall.
The city is seeking a shoreline conditional use permit to build the access ramp directly beneath the south end of the bridge, sandwiched between the high water line and the Centennial Trail.
While the river is closed to kayaks and other craft downstream from the Division bridge, it is open above that point. Another access is available at the McKinstry property southwest of Trent Avenue and Hamilton Street.
The proposal for the Division bridge ramp calls for using native basalt rock to shore up erosion along the bank under the bridge.
A small ramp-like path using water permeable paver bricks would be installed next to the Centennial Trail to serve as the staging and launching area.
The proposal is consistent with the city’s overall shoreline plan, which calls for improved public access, city officials said in their application.
River users were concerned in 2013 that expansion of the Spokane Convention Center would seal off access to the area, which had been used as an informal small craft launch and takeout for years.
Now, the Convention Center design includes a drop-off roundabout within the sprawling structure that can be used by kayakers to get their craft to the shoreline.
Among users of the ramp could be Gonzaga University students through their campus programs.
Garrett Jones, landscape architect for Spokane parks, said that Convention Center project is contributing $47,000 to the improvements.
Rita Santillanes, a member of the Spokane Public Facilities District board, which runs the Convention Center, said that she supports having small craft access.
“It’s great for tourism,” she said.
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