On behalf of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, Vice President of Public Policy and Parking, Andrew Rolwes, attends the monthly Urban Experience Committee (UEC) of the Spokane City Council. See the monthly update for projects impacting downtown below.
February 2019, UEC Update
Bike Share (Lime Bikes pilot project): Moving forward, Bike Share will be termed “Shared Mobility”. City staff Kevin Picanco and Brandon Blankenagel are recommending a series of policy changes for shared mobility providers and users; including laws pertaining to helmet use, speed limits, and lane use in downtown. The work group will continue with refining its recommended changes to policy and will present them at the March 25 Council meeting, which will include a hearing.
City-wide economic update for January: Year-over-year permitting of all construction projects across the City of Spokane is up 10% from January of last year. Downtown was dominant in commercial construction project permits for January. Construction permits for single family residential is up 67% from last January with a major concentration of new development in north Indian Trail.
Library and School Bond update: Interviews for qualified firms to design and build the downtown library were held the week of February 4. The preferred contractor will be selected and design work for the new downtown branch will begin by the end of this month.
It was noted that future communications should clarify that the proposed downtown Stadium location that was not selected by voters and the planned Sportsplex are not related projects, and that Joe Albi stadium will be rebuilt in northwest Spokane in its current location.
Riverfront Park project update: “Illumination Blades,” the metal strips that will reflect projected light, are are currently being installed onto the wire net of the pavilion. The excavation of the community gathering area will commence this spring and will result in a surface area of 80,000 square feet for community events, equivalent to a concert venue for 4,000 – 5,000 people.
The North Bank regional playground is projected for opening in spring of 2020. This will include a wheel park and basketball courts.
Construction of the “Stepwell” art project designed by Meijin Yun will begin in fall of this year.
North Bank and Downtown Plan Update: The North Bank subarea plan is underway currently with stakeholder interviews being conducted right now. Council will have the NB plan detailed at an upcoming study session, date TBD. The consultant will hold an open house on February 26 and 27 at the downtown Library. The public survey will be released this week with input from the entire community sought.
Ridpath update: The deadline to file the paperwork for the Ridpath’s historic tax credits by December 31, 2018 was met by the owners. Leasing is going very well with 109 of 180 units leased out by year end 2018. That number is considerably higher by now approaching full lease out. Construction for 30 units east of the annex is now also complete.