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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Zip line along the Spokane River’s south bank could become reality ahead of Expo ‘74 anniversary

Spokane park leaders are hopeful a zip line along the south bank of the Spokane River will become reality in little over a year, with proposals from prospective private vendors expected this spring.

Though the concept has been in the works for years, city leaders hope the attraction could be completed in time for the 50th anniversary of Expo ’74.

It is one of a number of infrastructure proposals being considered around the Spokane Falls and Riverfront Park to beautify the area ahead of the anniversary and celebrate the expo’s themes of connectivity, said Parks and Recreation Director Garrett Jones. Other projects being eyed include renovation of the suspension bridge over the south channel of the river, completion of the Great Gorge Loop Trail and rehabilitation of the Riverfront Park parking lot along Post Street.

Unlike those other projects, the zip line would have to be constructed without any city funds. City land would be used for the attraction, but design, construction, maintenance and operations would be the responsibility of the vendor.

If built – and there are still no guarantees it will be – the zip line would start at the plaza overlooking the Monroe Street Dam across the street from the downtown library, traveling downstream approximately 1,400 feet under the Monroe Street Bridge to Redband Park in Peaceful Valley.

Both the Spokane Park Board and City Council have approved further exploration of the possibility of building the zip line, Jones said, and a request for proposals is expected to be posted by the end of February. That process typically takes between 30-60 days.

Whether the attraction ultimately gets built depends on those proposals, which would examine the feasibility of building the attraction ahead of the anniversary on May 4, 2024. However, there already has been some informal interest expressed by private vendors, Jones noted.

Though zip-line proposals originally suggested it would cross over the Spokane River, a number of issues barred that possibility, including restrictions around the dam, Jones said. A line crossing the river would be steeper, possibly creating safety concerns, according to a staff report to the Spokane Park Board.