The Next 40 Years

Reimagining the future of Riverfront Park

click to enlarge NAC ARCHITECTURE
NAC Architecture

Forty years later, the remnants of Expo '74 — the Clock Tower and skeleton of the U.S. Pavilion — still define Spokane's postcards.

In the years since, Riverfront Park has seen few improvements: Sure, the old YMCA building was swapped out for more green space. And the kids play in the Rotary Fountain at the entrance, a leftover idea from Expo that took until 2005 to come to fruition. But now raccoons scurry about above the Ice Palace. The Looff Carrousel's roof leaks.

The next 40 years would bring Spokane all the way to 2054 (the same futuristic year portrayed in Minority Report). In the meantime, the Spokane Park Board and a Citizen Advisory Committee chaired by Inlander Publisher Ted S. McGregor Jr. have been dreaming up plans to make major changes.

That means moving away from the cloistered sections of the park designed for Expo's different cultures, and to a much more open park. Riverfrontparkmasterplan.org showcases the visualization of dozens of the committee's concepts for the park's future, including a sprawling promenade toward Howard Street; an expanded building to hold events and protect the carousel; an upgrade to the existing Pavilion cables, allowing them to "close" into a canopy; and even a large playground with an ancient Ice Age floods theme.

The committee and the Park Board are currently in the middle of analyzing options to fund the upgrades, including the use of a park bond on the ballot this November. ♦

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About The Author

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...