Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Agreement reached on Spokane River boat access at Convention Center

BOATING — The Spokane Parks and Recreation Board apparently has reached an agreement with the Spokane Public Facilities District that may assure maintaining a viable boat take-out point under the Division Street Bridge after the voter-approved $55 million Convention Center expansion project is finished.

The outlook wasn't so good when I wrote today's Outdoors column on the subject or when I wrote about the state of the issue in April as final Convention Center plans were being approved.

But here's a message received tonight from Parks Board member Andy Dunau of the Spokane River Forum:

I’m pleased to be able to share what I believe is good news. Today, the Spokane Parks and Recreation Board passed a resolution that the PFD has agreed to. The resolution addresses items needed to move forward this fall with development activities on Centennial Trail and Spokane River shoreline that are part of the convention center expansion. The section of the resolution that is essential to a put-in/take-out for the water trail reads as follows:

“The Park Board approves the Access in principle and subject to further review and approval design of the Park Board, and further authorizes the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department to be the lead agency in getting the Access permitted, conditioned on the District’s acknowledgement that it will bear all costs and expenses associated with permitting and construction of the Access, including any expenses ordinarily assigned to the City as lead agency for any permitting and/or construction of the Access, up to an amount not exceeding $47,000.”

The PFD verbally agreed to the resolution at the Park Board meeting, and will memorialize their agreement to it in a letter being sent to the Park Board.

We now have in writing a commitment of funds from the PFD, a design that has received broad support (also funded over the summer by the PFD), and Parks and Recreation agreeing to be the lead agency to develop the access. We can now get to the fun part: creating the Spokane River Water Trail Division Street Bridge Access.

Over the past week, intensive hours were committed by both PFD and Parks and Recreation staff and Boards to take this critical step forward. We are very appreciative of their time, effort and support. The Forum would also like to thank Spokane City Council for amending the municipal code last spring to allow this site location to move forward; Avista for their support in developing the design; Spokane Riverkeeper for providing important policy and regulatory guidance; and the many individuals and user groups who are the lifeblood of helping make good things happen.

$55 million Convention Center project should give voters more, not less river access

UPDATE: Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.: Tentative agreement reached on Spokane River boat access at Division Street.

RIVERS — Plans for the voter funded $55-$65 million expansion of the Spokane Convention Center are advancing to the construction stage, but Public Facilities District officials continue to suggest that maintaining viable public river access at Division Street Bridge for rafts, kayaks, paddle boards and outfitters is not their priority.

I wrote about this in April when the designs were being approved.

I wrote about it again today as the PFD readies to begin digging without giving a commitment to a viable boat access when the construction is complete.

Unbelievable.

What’s keeping a new Shenanigans from opening in downtown Spokane?

The company that closed C.I. Shenanigans said it wants to reopen in Spokane but is having trouble finding the right spot.

RAM International CEO Jeff Iverson said Spokane’s been a good market for Shenanigans, which operated for 32 years near the Spokane River just north of the Spokane Convention Center. The restaurant closed abruptly on Oct. 13.

Iverson knew this was the final year for Shenanigans at the spot it's had, north of the Spokane Convention Center next to the Spokane River.

Spokane's Public Facilities District bought the restaurant property in 2010. It now plans to demolish the resaturant this coming spring to expand the convention center.

PFD CEO Kevin Twohig said RAM was told its property lease would not be renewed beyond early 2013.

RAM, based in Lynnwood, Wash., never gave Twohig advance notice it was closing, Twohig said.

He said he assumed the eatery would stay open through December.

Iverson said he never told his employees it would remain open that long.

He also said the company is finding that another downtown location may not make sense.

Downtown Spokane now is “a bit saturated” with eateries competing for diners, he said. Also, the popularity of neighborhood food places further takes away some of the appeal of downtown dining, he said.

“We haven’t found anything” that meets the criteria the company has for an alternate location, Iverson said.

Iverson acknowledged the closure led to “a lot of emotions” directed at his company. He also said he is not willing to rehash the series of events that led to the closure.

“What I can say is we always try to do the best thing we can for our company and our people,” Iverson said.

Will Walt Worthy’s big new headquarter hotel line up with Marriott or Hilton?

This week's big announcement about plans by Walt and Karen Worthy included the likelihood that the new building will be co-branded with a national hotel chain.

We asked again today (Friday) if the Worthys have already narrowed down the choices to one or two major U.S. brands.

The answer: They're talking now to Marriott. But Hilton is also in the picture.

As of Friday, no solid terms or agreements have been set. 

Worthys’ project would be more than twice the size of Davenport Hotel

Today's big local business story was the announcement by Walt and Karen Worthy that they're about to begin a plan to build a large headquarter hotel near the Spokane Convention Center.

They acknowledged that the plan is for a very big hotel. About 550,000 square feet. Plus another 300,000 square feet for a garage adjoining the hotel.

By comparison, the historic Davenport Hotel is roughly 250,000 square feet. That takes up a whole block.

So imagine a city block twice as big, that's about the size of the new hotel the Worthys say they're going to start.

Groundbreaking would be the first quarter of 2013. It would likely not be ready until mid to late 2014, according to today's press conference  held downtown.

Gregoire tells teachers that state must raise taxes

Get Adobe Flash player
Gregoire on the need to raise taxes

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire told the state’s largest teachers union that she will work to increase taxes to help the state meet its mandate to provide quality education.

“I am traveling the state to send the message to legislators and taxpayers that we must have a new source of revenue because we cannot have money in the good times and no money in the bad times,” Gregoire said. “We have to have money all the time to meet our obligation to ensure the education of our children.”

Gregoire spoke Thursday evening at Spokane Convention Center during the annual convention of the Washington Education Association. About 1,000 members are attending the weekend event.

The governor, who opted not to run for a third term, won’t be governor when the Legislature convenes in January to consider the next two-year budget cycle and if tax increases will be part of that budget. Even so, she said she will remain active on the issue of education funding.

“It is time for us to step up to the responsibility that we as citizens in the state have and that is a long-term sustainable revenue source,” she said.

McLaughlin ad pulled off TV

The campaign to extend two taxes to pay for the expansion of the Spokane Convention Center and Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena has pulled a TV ad featuring Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin.

Citizens for Jobs Now has developed a series of commercials each featuring two people who often represent competing interests, including messages with a Democrat and Republican and another with a union member and a business owner. In each ad each spokesperson says that despite their usual differences they support Measure 1, the Spokane Public Facilities District tax plan that pays for the Convention Center and arena expansions.

Paul and Santorum coming to Inland Northwest (again)

Two GOP presidential candidates who already held events in the Inland Northwest this month are headed back, Spokane County GOP Chairman Matthew Pederson announced today.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum will hold a rally at noon Thursday at New Life Assembly Church, 10920 E. Sprague Ave.

Ron Paul will make his second appearance this campaign season at the Spokane Convention Center. He'll hold a rally there at noon Friday.

Santorum spoke earlier this month in Coeur d'Alene but has since mostly focused on Michigan where he hopes to pull off an upset in that state's primary today.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke in Spokane last week. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hasn't visited the area, though his son spoke to supporters in Spokane Valley last week.

Washington holds its GOP caucuses on Saturday. Idaho holds its caucuses on March 6, Super Tuesday.

Paul Attracts 2300 In Spokane

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul works the crowd at the front of the ballroom at the Spokane Convention Center Friday after a rally for his campaign. More than 2000 attended the rally. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

 

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul may not have won a state primary yet, but he remains a favorite to win Spokane County. A standing-room-only crowd of about 2,300 shouted their support for Paul during his 45-minute speech Friday evening at the Spokane Convention Center. Paul is the second Republican presidential candidate to visit the Inland Northwest this week as Washington and Idaho prepare for their presidential caucuses early next month. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum spoke to about 600 supporters in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday. Paul, who was introduced by state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, started his speech pointing to his strong base of support. In 2008, Paul finished first in the caucuses in Spokane County, capturing 46 percent of the vote/Jonathan Brunt, SR. More here.

Question: Anyone attend the Ron Paul rally in Spokane? Thoughts?

AARP’s Get Connected event for seniors gives online tips on social networking

Presentations by Microsoft and a well-known how-to author are part of a Dec. 1 session in Spokane on how seniors can use the Web more safely and explore social networking.

Washington state AARP and Microsoft Corp. are hosting the Get Connected session that runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at  the Spokane Convention Center.
 
The free event requires registration, and space is limited.
 
Gary Moulton, a Microsoft specialist in online access, and Marsha Collier, author of several books including “Facebook and Twitter for Seniors for Dummies,”  will also be on the program.
 
To register or get more information, go to http://aarp.us/vWRqQQ or call toll-free 1-877-926-8300. 
 
This is the second such event hosted by Microsoft with the AARP. The first one, earlier this year in Redmond, sold out.

P.S. Otter Addresses Spokane Tea Party

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter rallies the crowd at the Tea Pary Rally on the steps of the Spokane Convention Center in Spokane this afternoon. See Spokesman-Review gallery photos of today’s event here. (Dan Pelle/SR)