Friday, March 5, 2010
One proposal to save the old YMCA building in Riverfront Park may not be about saving the building.
“I’m not commenting on that,” says Mark Pinch, one of the three people who submitted plans for the site, when asked if he would renovate the building or tear it down. Pinch has been involved with the controversial site since 2006, when his $5.4 million bid to build a 15-story condo there launched a battle culminating this month, when the city decides whether to keep the building or convert the location to park space.---
Pinch has gone through the back-and-forths with the Y, the city and the city’s Park Board. But it’s the controversy Pinch says he wants to avoid.
“We have to look at this as a community,” he says. “I’ve got a real aversion to us versus them. It’s all us.”
Pinch wouldn’t release any details on his plan, other than to say it would “still be basically residential.”
Ron Wells, another bidder on the site, was a bit more forthcoming. According to the Spokesman, his plan would also be mainly residential — the top three floors of the existing building would be made into apartments. The ground floor, Wells told the paper, would be for Spokane Public Radio, though the station hasn’t signed on to the deal.
A third proposal comes from Jennifer Childress, who’d like to see the site become a Museum of Native American Cultures (MONAC). In her proposal to the city, Childress says she has no funding for her proposal, or the qualifications to pull off such a feat, but would like to “to plant the seed of an idea for the building.”The City Council has to make a decision on the location by March 31, the deadline imposed by the county commission, which secured $4.3 million in Conservation Futures funds for the razing of the building.