City readies Looff Carousel for Riverfront Park renovations

City readies Looff Carousel for Riverfront Park renovations

Spokane ‘s Riverfront Park has yet to see any construction going on, but behind the scenes things are already in motion for the park’s major renovation.

The iconic Looff Carrousel is one of the places that will change with the new park. Though the Carrousel shuts down each year for annual maintenance, the $64 million park bond will also give the carrousel’s wooden horses a new home in Spokane’s new playground.

In a labor of love, preservationists scrub, sand, paint and varnish each of the Looff Carrousel’s horses.

My attitude is you have to get it all spiffed up because we have company coming,” said Bette Largent, one of the project’s preservationists

Soon, the carrousel is set to see much bigger improvements than it’s annual maintenance. Thanks to the $64 million park bond, the carrousel will soon be housed in a new building.

“We really don’t have adequate facilities, and the horses themselves require a better building, better heat, better climate control, air circulation, so we’ve outgrown it,” Largent said.

Currently, Spokane’s Parks and Recreation Department is deciding on an architect for the carrousel building.

On Thursday, the park design steering committee heard presentations from three firms.

“Monday we’re going to do that release on who’s going to be recommended to the park board for that contract,” said Parks and Recreation director Leroy Eadie.

The Looff Carrousel is just on the the aspects the parks department is juggling when it comes to the Riverfront Park makeover.

Construction on the new Howard Street Bridge and the ice skating rink will begin this year.

Leroy Eadie, Parks and Recreation director.

“That bridge is under permitting right now, and in the spring we’ll start on demolition of that bridge and we’re hoping in mid to late summer we’ll start construction on the ice skating rink,” Eadie said.

While the park will improve in many ways, it will still highlight the Spokane’s history, with help of gems like the Looff Carrousel.

“Ours is a very rare machine,” Eadie said. “It’s a celebration for Spokane.”

The Spokane Parks and Recreation Department will host an open house on February 16. There, the final designs for the ice rink and Howard Street Bridge will be presented. Citizens will also have a change to meet with the chosen designer of the carrousel building.