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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Council OKs funds for development, social service groups

Dozens of residents speak against topless, scantily clad baristas

The Spokane Valley City Council used a new formula to award funding to economic development and social service agencies Tuesday, avoiding a protracted discussion on what organizations should be funded and how much they should get.

For the first time, all 15 agencies that submitted requests received funding, although none got exactly what they wanted. Their combined requests added up to more than $270,000; the city only allocates $150,000 each year. Each agency was invited to make a 10-minute presentation before the council earlier this month.

Usually any agency that receives less than four recommendations is dropped. “We had no agency that received fewer than four votes,” said Finance Director Mark Calhoun.

The council member funding recommendations were averaged to reach the award amount. Councilman Arne Woodard said he appreciated the ease of the new funding allocation method.

The council voted unanimously to make the following economic development awards: Greater Spokane Incorporated, $36,714; Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, $11,571; Spokane Area Workforce Development, $4,186; Spokane River Forum, $929; Spokane Valley Arts Council, $7,857; Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, $2,171; and Valleyfest, $24,429.

The social service agencies receiving funding are: Big Brothers and Sisters of the Inland Northwest, $2,429; Children’s Home Society of Washington, $3,071; Coalition of the Responsible Disabled, $2,143; Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council, $5,286; Hearth Homes, $5,214; Spokane Guilds’ School Foundation, $4,286; Spokane Valley Partners, $34,071; and the YWCA, $5,643.

In other business, the council took a look at projects to submit for Community Development Block Grant funding. The funding was previously limited to road projects in low- to moderate-income areas, but the city has received permission to use money for sidewalk projects in those areas as well, said senior capital projects engineer Steve Worley. Staff is recommending that the city focus on areas near schools that do not have sidewalks, Worley said.

The first area is Sprague Avenue and Long Road near Greenacres Elementary and Greenacres Middle School, he said. “There’s some gaps on Long Road and no sidewalks on Sprague,” he said. Another possible project is Farr Road between Sixth and Eighth avenues.

The Central Valley School District has expressed support for the city’s plan, Worley said, and the superintendent will ask the school board if they want to contribute money to the effort.

At the start of Tuesday’s meeting more than 200 people packed the council chambers and spilled out into the hall and dozens of them spoke against the XXXtreme Espresso coffee stand that features bikini baristas and topless Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those days the women wear pasties and G-strings. The testimony ranged from highly emotional to comedic.

Resident Harry Ross asked the assembled crowd what they would do if he stripped off his clothes and walked around in a lacy g-string. “Would you call the police?” he said. “I think you would.”

Ross and others urged the council to take immediate action. “We are angry,” he said. “What are you waiting for?”

The crowd spoke during the public comment period since the issue was not on the Tuesday’s agenda. Mayor Tom Towey thanked the residents for their comments. A study session has been set for 1 p.m. Oct. 3 at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave. No public comment will be taken.