Downtown challenge aims to help struggling businesses

Downtown challenge aims to help struggling businesses

SPOKANE, Wash. - It seems no matter where you turn in downtown Spokane, you run into the same thing: construction.

The Lincoln and Monroe corridor has been torn up all summer and the businesses nearby have felt the impact, but now they are getting some help.

The City of Spokane is hoping to beef up business. The city promises the end product of all this construction will be well worth it, but in the mean time these businesses are losing business. But, there's been a big influx over the past couple of weeks all because of a friendly challenge.

The city says they are moving along on the Lincoln and Monroe corridor construction, but each day the roads go unfinished some businesses suffer.

"It's definitely a challenge for our customers to get downtown," said Josh Blair, owner of 24 Taps.

Fortunately, the construction hasn't hurt 24 Taps too badly. Most of their loyal customers are willing to trek through the construction for a burger and a brew. But, this week, they've seen a big difference thanks to a new initiative.

Spokane County and city employees were challenged this past week to bring their business to the ones along Lincoln and Monroe.

"We have 2,000 plus employees, so we've encouraged them for the past week to come downtown," said Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O'Quinn.

Blair said the challenge is really helping out.

"We're excited for the support the county has given us," said Blair.

City employees stepped up their game too.

"It's an awesome time to come downtown," said Spokane Mayor David Condon, "we had the kick off to symphony season last weekend, First Fridays, so much going on, not to mention all of our great restaurants."

Now the city and county are passing the torch to the next group, Spokane Young Professionals.
That group of more than 2,000 people says they are up for the challenge.

"These businesses took a risk on Spokane and now we need to be there to support them," said Ben Klundt, a member of Spokane Young Professionals.

Along with this friendly challenge, the City of Spokane is also trying to make it easier for you to come downtown. Meters around the area are now free after 5 p.m.