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Monday, June 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Riverfront Park playground to prioritize accessibility

UPDATED: Thu., June 20, 2019

Construction is underway on June 19, 2019, at  the Expo '74 U.S. Pavilion in Riverfront Park in Spokane, Wash. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Construction is underway on June 19, 2019, at the Expo '74 U.S. Pavilion in Riverfront Park in Spokane, Wash. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

A playground focused on accessibility for disabled children is set to be built near the upper Spokane Falls in Riverfront Park.

Early project plans and designs were presented June 12 to the Spokane Design Review Board by SPVV Landscape Architects, of Spokane.

This project covers 3 acres south of the Avista Upper Falls Powerhouse.

A Shane’s Inspiration Playground, designed by the nonprofit focused on accessibility, will encompass two areas of the park. Shane’s Inspiration has designed 65 playgrounds worldwide, the closest to Spokane being Crescent Creek Park in Gig Harbor, Washington.

The public has repeatedly voiced a need for accessibility and the ability for all to interact with one another , said Garrett Jones, acting director of Parks and Recreation.

“To provide a place where all abilities and all ages can interact and play together will be a first in Spokane,” Jones said.

A smaller sensory playground will cover 5,800 square feet and a larger portion will be 8,800 square feet.

The playground will be handicap accessible and include sensory play structures that can help with child development through tactile elements built into interactive panels.

A “contemporary take on Expo ’74,” is one of the themes being considered for the playground, according to planning documents.

The West Havermale project will also clean up and restore the theme stream, a historic legacy feature from Expo ’74, and bring it up to code along with modifying portions to comply with American Disability Association recommendations.

The picnic shelter in the area, also from Expo ’74, will get a new roof and remain as a place to view the upper falls.

A zip line will run from the picnic shelter area to a nearby landscaped area near the playground.

The site will include eight ADA and 13 regular parking spaces, along with a bus loading zone. A handicap-accessible restroom will also be added to the area.

A donor has pledged $1 million to help with project costs; the Spokane Parks Foundation is working with the donor to finalize the details.

A name for the park will be chosen based on the final theme or, potentially, the donor.

The Shane’s Inspiration park is not part of the Riverfront redevelopment bond approved by voters in 2014. The park will be paid for by donors, while the surrounding restoration and landscaping will be paid for with bond dollars.

The whole project is budgeted at about $2.6 million and is scheduled to open in fall 2020.

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