Local News

Businesses file claim against city for Monroe Street Project

SPOKANE, Wash. - A group of businesses have filed a $15 million tort claim against the city of Spokane over a project aimed to boost safety and reconfigure traffic along Monroe street between Indiana and Kiernan.

The city wants to change that stretch of road- reducing what is now five lanes down to three.

Officials say the project would improve access to businesses once completed, but construction would close off much of the road for several months. Many businesses say the project would cause significant revenue loss.

"We'll have no service to our restaurant at all because it will be barricaded up at Kiernan," said Gary Jarvis, owner of Skippers Seafood and Chowder. "I may close. I'll most likely have to lay off most of my employees," Jarvis added.

Many businesses are concerned the project will keep customers away- during, and long after construction. Jarvis said once completed, the project will create bottlenecks, and commuters will seek alternate routes downtown.

"There's far too much traffic for it to be crammed down to one lane in each direction," said Jarvis.

Not all businesses are opposed.

"We actually came to this neighborhood in anticipation of the project," said Nick Lewis, co-owner of Kingsley and Scout. Lewis believes the project will draw in more customers.

"I have concerns about the construction time- those are valid points, and I don't think all of us disagree on that," said Lewis. "I think long term, it's going to be better for this neighborhood."

Marlene Feist, with Spokane public works and utilities, confirmed the city is aware of the claim.

"Our lawyers are going to look at that," said Feist. "Certainly we respect the opinions of all our citizens."

The city of Spokane has 60 days to respond to the claim- if they don't, the city will likely face a lawsuit.

Construction would begin around April, and is estimated to last several months.