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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Paint your (red) wagon: Repairs to Riverfront Park’s Radio Flyer ‘going well,’ city says

So far, so good with the repairs to Riverfront Park’s iconic Radio Flyer wagon, according to Spokane Parks and Recreation.

The 27-foot-long, 12-foot-wide, 12-foot-tall sculpture formally known as “The Childhood Express” is getting a new paint job and some attention to aging areas of metal. Equipped with a slide, the 26-ton wagon was built for the 1989 Centennial Celebration of Children by local artist Ken Spiering.

The goal with the current work is for the wagon to appear nearly identical to its original condition – same colors and all.

Prior to the project, the Radio Flyer had been repainted only once since its construction 33 years ago, while this is the first time the sculpture has received any “significant” steel repairs, said Spokane Parks spokeswoman Fianna Dickson. Identified issues included minor rusting, holes and faded paint.

“After that amount of time outdoors, these types of regular maintenance repairs are common,” Dickson said in an email. “We have received a couple of questions over the years asking if the wagon would receive these types of repairs, and we are pleased to deliver them this year.”

Spiering did not return multiple calls for comment.

Recommended by Parks staff, the $73,000 project was approved by the Spokane Park Board through a contract with Modern Construction and Consulting Services, LLC in May covered by park maintenance funds, Dickson said. Sherwin-Williams donated the paint.

Work began May 31. While the project is “going well,” some additional metal repairs means the work will take an one to two weeks longer than once anticipated, putting the wagon’s reopening sometime in July, Dickson said.

Dickson said these additional repairs discovered by the team are “small and anticipated,” not uncommon with this type of work. Modern Construction has donated the labor needed with the additional repairs.

The metal repairs started with removing the existing paint and rust to allow for a visual inspection. Most of the wagon is in good shape; any areas in good condition will just be repainted, while new metal plates will be installed in the areas where the metal has rusted through, Dickson said.

“Ken has been onsite to meet with the contractor and advise on repairs, and we are grateful to have him as a resource,” she said.

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