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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Council Considers Science Center Again

It’s back.

The proposal to put a Pacific Science Center in Riverfront Park comes once again before the Spokane City Council.

Tonight, council members plan a hearing on a referendum petition designed to put the science center to a public vote.

Petition organizers recently gathered more than 12,000 signatures aimed at reversing the council’s approval last month of a contract leasing the park’s Pavilion to the Seattle-based center.

Opponents of putting the center in the Pavilion object to the council making major changes to the park without voter approval. Some also object to the $10 million cost of the project, which would be partially funded with public money.

Based on the signatures, the council could decide to repeal its earlier approval. Most likely, it will have the county elections office check the validity of the signatures, making sure at least half came from registered city voters.

Sixty-nine percent of the 300 signatures sent to the office for a random sampling were valid.

If the petition is valid, the measure could go before voters in September.

Also tonight, the council will:

Consider accepting a $600,000 federal grant stemming from the Lincoln Street bridge project. The grant is specifically earmarked to preserve the view of the Spokane Falls.

The money would be used in an effort to buy a 1.4-acre site just north of the downtown library overlooking the Spokane Falls.

Owners Steve and Leslie Ronald last week filed a $3 million lawsuit alleging the city repeatedly has blocked their development plans in an attempt to preserve the library’s panoramic view.

The city claims the couple has delayed going ahead with their plans because the steep site is too difficult to build on.

Consider a request by residents of the historic Cannon’s Addition for a nine-month reprieve from any new apartments.

Discuss plans to change the council’s weekly meeting schedule.

A committee headed up by City Councilwoman Bev Numbers is proposing changing how the council does its business.

The committee suggests switching the Thursday briefing session to a study session, where the council would discuss one topic in-depth.

On Mondays, a council member and city staff person would meet with the public at 3 p.m. to take questions or clarify issues on the weekly agenda. At 3:30, the council would be briefed on that night’s meeting.

Agendas would be available 10 days before a council meeting instead of the current five.

The public forum would be limited to the last half-hour of the meeting and remain untelevised. Speakers would be kept to a five-minute limit.

No public testimony will be taken on the proposed changes at tonight’s meeting.

The council briefing starts at 5:30 p.m. in the fifth-floor conference room at City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. The regular meeting begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

xxxx Meeting The City Council meets at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

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