Advisory group ready to present Riverfront Park renovation recommendations

Advisory group ready to present Riverfront Park renovation recommendations

SPOKANE, Wash. - Riverfront Park, Spokane's crown jewel, is now one step closer to getting a massive makeover.

After a year-long process, Riverfront Park's advisory committee is presenting their renovation recommendations to the park board this week. Ted McGregor, chair of the park's 20-person advisory committee, said the group is recommending the park board make big improvements to the Howard Street promenade.

"There is a north bank over there somewhere but we can't see it, so we want to open up some of the walkways in the park, we think that will address safety and use," McGregor said.

There could also be changed on the horizon to the pavilion, turning it into a multi-use event space. The committee wants the ice skating rink to be moved closer to the gondolas, and the Imax theater to be torn down.

"It'll open up the views, open up the plaza, a lot more," McGregor said.

There are also plans to add a playground near the Red Wagon as well as one at the north end of the park.

"I think they are pretty cool, they are good ideas," park goer Megan Radford said.

"I'm a real visual person, so I would need to see it, but I'm hoping there is enough changes to beautify it," park goer Yvonne Berg said.

Ultimately it will be up to Spokane voters as the city is looking at putting a $60 million bond on the November ballot.

"Obviously the money has to come from somewhere and this is a community park so it doesn't bother me to pitch in for the community," Radford said.

The ideas the advisory committee are presenting are just that -- ideas -- and there is an opportunity later this week for the community to share their ideas as well. There is a special parks board meeting Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at City Hall. The board will be taking public comment during the meeting.

Over the next few months the park board will approve a master plan for the park and then work to get the city council's approval to place a bond on the November ballot for city voters to consider.

If the council approves the park board's request, if the bond is placed on the ballot and if voters approve the bond, the earlier construction would start will be in the fall of 2015 and it would take two to three years to be completed.