Thanks for the Pavilion story. It’s worthy of the front page because the renovation is so beautiful, and because the Pavilion has been amazingly transformed and rescued from its status as a tired relic of Expo ’74.
But your story is really the last chapter in a Pavilion 45-year odyssey.
After Expo ’74, Spokane couldn’t let go of its iconic world fair centerpiece. We were determined to sustain Expo’s vitality by infusing the Pavilion with “mini-Expo” attractions — everything from a new IMAX theater to putt-putt golf. The attractions eventually grew stale, including IMAX when its franchise expired. Forty years later, the Pavilion was limping along, bleeding red ink, cluttered with the remains of tired enterprises. It desperately needed a major makeover.
Amazing circumstances made it happen. Mayor Condon and Rick Romero invented a creative bond measure for financing. The City Council and park leadership campaigned hard for its passage. There was much healthy citizen input and rethinking of Riverfront Park’s features. The park board sorted the puzzle pieces and made them fit the budget. And the design-build team made it a reality.
It took a lot of courage to redefine the Pavilion — to demolish the visually obstructive IMAX, to resist giving it a new tent roof, to avoid backfilling the Pavilion with gimmicky amusements. But most importantly, to gut the Pavilion interior and make it a passive but compelling park feature with spellbinding views and an aura of reverence and tranquility — and yet a feature which transforms instantly into a vibrant raucous amphitheater with light blades pulsing to music.
The Pavilion is spectacular — but it’s also a testimony to civic leadership, cooperation and hard work. All who participated should be very proud.