The three women eyed the horsedrawn carriage like it was a four-carat diamond. They ran their hands across the leather seat and padded satin lining, peered through the round window at the back that resembles a ship portal. They looked under the black carpeting to find worn linoleum that resembles caning. They toyed with the loosened trim, lifting it to discover even older trim beneath. They examined a pillow-shaped, metal foot warmer complete with coal drawer.
Gerard and Willy Verkaik love open space. And while their children want the couple living close to family, the Verkaiks consider close a relative term. They recently bought a 40-acre property north of Loon Lake off Highway 395. The land is about 30 minutes from their daughter's Colbert home.
The Whitaker family's move to Spokane took 10 visits and nearly two years. Scott Whitaker began the family's journey here from Las Vegas when he applied to be a Spokane Valley firefighter in 2005. After that, he traveled to Spokane for the written exam, the interview, the physical and psychological evaluations, and on trips with his wife to get her sense of the place.
Robert and Deborah Osborn spent two years caring for his bedridden mother after her stroke. When she died a year ago, the couple knew it was time for change. "I'd lived there all my life," Robert says of Indianapolis. "My mom was the last of my family. After we lost her, I got the idea of a fresh start."
Gene Lucia wanted to plant a garden and get out of the jungle. Lucia and his wife, Barbara, moved to Spokane last year after living more than 30 years in southern Florida. The East Coast natives decided against moving back home after several visits left them discouraged by the overcrowding and the incivility.
For Monica and Brooks Holland, moving to Spokane involved expanding their world and shrinking it all at the same time. While living in New York City, the Hollands rented a 750-square-foot apartment and didn't own a car. Here they own a 2,000-square-foot home and two cars.
During her college years, Beth Viren fell in love with a fellow student. She also fell in love with a house. Beth sighed nearly every time she and her then-boyfriend Paul passed by the striking Tudor home sitting on a small hill across from the main entrance to Whitworth College.
The two-story house sat on a hill across from Manito Park, and best of all, it was for sale. But Nancy Johnson wasn't impressed, says her husband, Larry, recalling the day more than 20 years ago when he took her by for a tour. "She said, 'I hate it.' It did not look like what you see now."
Connie Postmus found her dream home on the Internet. Postmus and her husband, Bill, had flirted with moving to the Northwest from Southern California for more than 15 years. They'd grown tired of the two-hour commutes and fast-paced lifestyle. They wanted something simpler, something easier, something friendlier.
Steve and Sheri Beckerman knew what they wanted when they began looking for a place to call home. Spokane satisfied everything on their five-point list: Good medical care. Convenient airport. Friendly people. Proximity to family. Culture.
Nearly 20 years ago, Peggy Lamanna asked her husband to take her to the park she could never find on her own. She'd grown weary of living along a street too busy for bicycles and yearned for the feeling of open space she'd known as a child growing up.
The River Park Square redevelopment project cleared its last financial hurdle Tuesday, winning approval of a $22.65 million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The announcement from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray came just a day after the Spokane City Council voted 5-2 to loan the money to the shopping center's developers.
In a decision that left little room for surprise, Spokane City Council members on Monday voted 5-2 to approve a $22.65 million federal loan to the developers of River Park Square.
Testimony given at two public hearings last week convinced a majority of the council it was time to move ahead, they said.
Familiar refrains kept playing during nearly four hours of public testimony Saturday on the River Park Square redevelopment project.
Mild spring weather and a cloudless sky didn't distract the 200-plus people who crowded into the council chambers to tell the Spokane City Council how they feel about the plan.
Financial documents related to the River Park Square redevelopment project are only temporarily exempt from public disclosure, a judge ruled Thursday.
State law clearly exempts the release of the documents while they are being used to apply for economic development dollars, said Spokane County Superior Court Judge Linda Tompkins.
"Once the application is complete, the reason for the exemption disappears," she said.
The city of Spokane plans to try to block a move by a nonprofit group to intervene in a city-state dispute over the proposed Lincoln Street bridge.
Last week, the grass-roots organization Friends of the Falls filed a motion to intervene in the city's appeal of the state's denial of a shoreline permit for the bridge.
The state Department of Ecology turned down a shoreline permit for the project in January, saying the bridge proposal violates the city's shoreline management plan.
The Spokane City Council put approval of a federal loan for the River Park Square project on a fast track Monday, vowing to hold two public hearings this week and vote on the issue by early next week.
With Councilman Orville Barnes saying it is time to "fish or cut bait," he and other council members voted 5-2 to let the downtown shopping center's developers know by March 30 whether the $22.65 million loan has their approval.
"We have had a great deal of time to have the public comment on this," Barnes said.