Walking through the Riverfront Park maintenance building is like passing through a cross section of history, with oddities from the park’s past tucked into every corner. Here, the Skyride gondolas from Expo ’74; there, pieces of the old tarp from the U.S. Pavilion; elsewhere, the former motor drive from the Looff Carrousel.
The Spokane Parks department is planning on investing $1.1 million to fix the maintenance facility, called the Central Park Maintenance building, at 809 N. Washington St. The renovation will be funded by the utilities department’s purchase of the Howard Street Bridge, according to parks staff. The building will mostly be used for storage after renovation, said Leroy Eadie, Spokane Parks director, who discussed the plans at a Parks Advisory Committee meeting last month.
“It really is an albatross of a building,” said Bette Largent, who has worked to repair the 1909 Looff Carrousel horses. “It’s not air-conditioned. It’s very hot right now.”
The building is a patchwork of additions, renovations and repairs. In the 1930s, it was built to house VanWaters and Rogers Inc. industrial supplies. The park rangers have offices in it now – the only air-conditioned rooms in the building – but most of it is used for storage. After the renovation, the park rangers’ offices will be moved elsewhere, Eadie said.
Kevin Sharrai, safety and maintenance manager for Riverfront Park, said there’s “probably asbestos” in the building, but the structure remains usable.
“This is still a feasible facility,” Sharrai said, “but there are some efficiencies to be gained.”
Eadie said he hasn’t settled on a full design of the new facility, but it’s been part of the master plan for the park. He wants to keep the west part of the building, but demolish the east part and turn it into a covered area for vehicles, he said.
“Once the utility dollars become more available, we’ll start looking at it more closely,” Eadie said.
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