Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rethinking Riverfront Park and learning from Expo '74

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Nearly 40 years after Spokane hosted Expo ’74, Riverfront Park is in need of some fresh ideas. That’s why the parks department started a new Master Plan process a couple of years ago with the intention of creating the Riverfront Park Master Plan 2012. The goal is to create a plan that will make the park useful for the next 40 years.

And before anyone starts complaining about change: They have a whole site dedicated to telling you about the project and getting your feedback.

Lack of major investment means many of the park’s facilities are outdated or in disrepair. Raccoons live over the Ice Palace roof, and the vision page outlines other practical priorities like parking and bridge upgrades.

But, as the goals page outlines, a lot of the focus is on reinvention that’s bigger than just a few repair projects. The committee is looking at big ideas for how the park can be better designed and used to connect Spokane and host events.

A video survey asks for feedback on seven icons of the park: the Bloomsday runner sculpture, the clocktower, the Ice Palace, the IMAX Theater, the Looff Caroussel, the Sky Ride Gondola and the pavilion.

Participants are asked questions like: What would you think if the Bloomsday runners were relocated within the park? If the Ice Palace was to be relocated, where would you put it? Would you come to the pavilion more often if more parking was available in closer proximity?

The advisory committee isn’t disregarding the past, though — in fact, tomorrow they are hosting an evening dialogue with three experts on the origins of Expo ’74: Jack Geraghty, a key member of the Expo planners; Mike Kobluk, event programmer during the World’s Fair; and Bill Youngs, author of The Fair and the Falls. (Disclosure: Inlander publisher Ted McGregor is the chairman of the Riverfront Park Master Plan Citizen Advisory Committee.)

“Lessons of EXPO: What we can learn from the origins of Riverfront Park” • Wed, Oct. 2 from 6:30 to 8 pm • Free • Kendall Yards Clubhouse • 1335 W. Summit Parkway

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About The Author

Lisa Waananen

Lisa Waananen is the web editor and a staff writer at the Inlander. She specializes in data and graphics, and her recent cover stories have been about family history, the legacy of Spokane photographer Charles A. Libby and genetically modified food...