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Mixed reactions to Riverfront Park art proposals

Mixed reactions to Riverfront Park...

SPOKANE, Wash. - Residents are weighing in on the next major art installation planned for Riverfront Park. The four options have mixed reviews after being unveiled Thursday night.

World renowned architect and artist Meejin Yoon was selected after a national search to create the installation. Yoon said she was inspired by the landscape of the park, the history of Spokane, and the environmental progressivism of World Expo '74.

Some residents have voiced concern that the art doesn't fit in with the park scenery and that the price tag is too much. The budget is $500,000.

Spokane Valley resident Larry Johnson said he uses the park and appreciates it, but that money could go to other things.

"They need to spend it on infrastructure," Johnson said.

While many residents have echoed those sentiments, City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Director Leroy Eadie said the money is part of a larger budget that was included in the $64 million bond for the entire park project, passed by voters in 2014. 

"You can't just take that dollars and spend it on some other project or some other activity in the city," Eadie said. 

Beyond the cost, the look of the art has become a talking point. The sleek, modern look has attracted both criticism and appreciation. 

Johnson said the look is unique, but he appreciated the art because it's interactive. That's one point Eadie highlighted too. 

"She really wants humans and citizens to interact with her pieces. And in that process of interacting with her pieces, you're interacting with the landscape around you," Eadie said. "She wants citizens to come and interact with those pieces and so you are able to sit in those pieces or you're able to climb into those pieces. You're able to stand in those pieces. You're able to view through those pieces."

Eadie said the decision comes down to a joints art/park committee. It's comprised of three park board members and three arts commissioner members who will narrow down the top two. Then the city will do further design and cost estimates. Eadie said then they'll have more opportunities for residents to share their opinions.