Park visitors will be able to discover the redesigned Riverfront Park promenade this summer, which includes more views of the river, a more open park and a fresh take on old attractions.
The U.S. Pavilion and the promenade, two of the biggest projects in the $64.3 million taxpayer funded Riverfront Park rehabilitation project, are both scheduled to open this year.
The north section of the promenade will open to the public in early May and the main area in the heart of the park will open in June, said Jonathan Moog, park director. He said he hopes the north promenade will be open by Bloomsday, but the Pavilion won’t open until fall.
The Pavilion project will cost about $23 million and the promenade about $5 million.
Moog said a few traditional elements of the park have been redesigned and transformed, including the Expo ‘74 era metal butterfly, which will soon have lilac wings and greet visitors at the north side of the promenade when it opens next month.
“It’ll fly again just like it did in Expo ‘74,” he said.
Moog said the butterfly will be the main homage to Expo ‘74 in the 100-acre park in the center of downtown Spokane.
Visitors couldn’t see the butterflies from the Rotary Fountain in past versions of park because of the path, and other obstructions in the way, Moog said. The redesigned park will have fewer things blocking people’s view and have a wide pathway that invites people to discover trails, art or views in outlying areas.
“It’s more intriguing,” Moog said. “It definitely invites you to different parts of the park and encourages you to follow the centennial trail or to explore a different secondary path.”
Garrett Jones, Spokane Parks and Recreation Department interim director, said staff did salvage several historical elements of Riverfront Park. The rehabilitated park also will be a place for the community to host its own attractions.
The Pavilion, which will host concerts, or other events, is scheduled to open in the fall. Jones said the entire park has been reconfigured to be more friendly toward events such as Pig Out at the Park. He said venders at community gatherings like Pig Out will have better access to electricity and water and the park itself will be set up for music, or entertainment venues to more easily plug in.
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