‘Step in the right direction’: WSDOT plans to reconnect East Central decades after I-90 split it up
SPOKANE, Wash. — Millions of dollars are now going to reconnect communities across the state.
Washington’s Department of Transportation (WSDOT) was just awarded a $5 million RAISE grant. The money is supposed to help improve infrastructure in underserved communities, and East Central is next on the list.
Numerous homes were torn down to build I-90 almost 70 years ago.
“Where the freeway is now, that was just one row of houses, and they were all facing south as I remember,” said Finley Taylor. He’s an East Central homeowner who lives near the freeway.
Taylor remembers because he was there when the highway was built. He’s always lived in East Central and even sold four of his properties to WSDOT.
“When the freeway went through, it really separated us out,” he added.
Now, new money could change its impact. With the new grant, WSDOT wants to create a land bridge near Liberty Park. They say the bridge would make it safer for pedestrians, could cut down bus transfers for people, and would encourage more trail use.
“This is definitely a step in the right direction in building some equity in infrastructure back in our neighborhood,” said Randy McGlenn. He’s the chair of East Central’s Neighborhood Council.
McGlenn says re-investing is crucial because the freeway’s done damage over the years.
“This area just dried up,” he added. “The people moved away because of the freeway and the business opportunities dried up. The jobs went away.”
All the changes still didn’t turn Taylor and his wife away, and now he’s welcoming the new updates.
“If they can connect the union town a little bit more, I think that would be nice,” Taylor concluded.
With millions of dollars now secured, the changes are closer. More studies and feedback are still needed to alter the look of the neighborhood. To learn more about the timeline of this project and what else WSDOT is planning, click HERE.
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