Pin It
Favorite

First Impressions 

The city of Spokane could do a better job welcoming its visitors.

click to enlarge What\'s right with this image?
  • What\'s right with this image?

The eye-catcher on the corner of Main Avenue and Browne Street is the Main Market Co-op. Set on a brilliant yellow wall, its mural boasts wine bottles, a cheese wheel, chickens, goats and a sandwich. The air outside in the parking lot smells delicious, like the lunch that’s eluded you all week. A sign in the front window reads “Everyone Welcome.”

“Isn’t it gorgeous, all those big graphics, doesn’t it make you want to go in and buy vegetables?” asks Judy Randall, president of Randall Travel Marketing, Inc. Last week, the company released a study, commissioned by Visit Spokane, on how to improve tourism in Spokane.

Randall contrasted the co-op with the “brown box” across the way, its offset entrance guarded by a stone wall seemingly holding a grass moat: the Spokane Visitor’s Information Center.

“They make you want to go in and buy vegetables, something that people normally don’t really like,” Randall says, referring to the co-op. “Over here, we’re giving away fun and entertainment and can’t get them to come in. What’s wrong with this picture?” Getting a unified visitor center — there are currently two, on opposite ends of town — closer to the highway and more welcoming is one of the study’s recommendations.

But Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart says a center is a tough pitch. The building sits on city property, where rent is inexpensive, according to Stuckart. And finding suitable land closer to the highway might be a challenge.

Randall also advocates for better highway signs and more welcoming “gateways,” the places through which visitors enter the city.

Stuckart agrees with this and thinks it’s doable. “Everybody recognizes that we need better gateways,” he says. Like the experience of pulling off I-90 northbound onto Division Street:

“It’s not the prettiest thing.”

There, you glide down the exit ramp before rounding the bend through a homeless encampment beneath the highway. You sit at the Third Avenue stoplight next to the chicken wire fence of a rental car lot and round-the-clock shifts of panhandlers.

It happens so fast you might not even notice the sign in the shadow of the underpass, a depiction of buildings bearing the words, “Welcome to Spokane.”

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Barred from Help
  • Barred from Help

    Why mentally ill inmates continue to languish in the Spokane County Jail
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Shake Down
  • Shake Down

    When a 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocks Western Washington, what will happen in the Inland Northwest?
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Envision This!
  • Envision This!

    DSP is fighting the proposed Worker Bill of Rights; plus, finalists for Spokane's police ombudsman
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Moscow ArtWalk 2015

Moscow ArtWalk 2015 @ Downtown Moscow

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Joe O'Sullivan

  • R.I.P. Spokane
  • R.I.P. Spokane

    Exploring the Spokane of South Dakota — left for dead long ago
    • Jun 11, 2013
  • Beating On
  • Beating On

    Ska and new wave legends the English Beat land in Spokane
    • Mar 26, 2013
  • Green Water
  • Green Water

    Will Congress say yes to more hydropower?
    • Feb 27, 2013
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Rushing's Rant

    The Airway Heights City Council has asked the mayor to resign after posting a racist Facebook message
    • Jul 15, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation