[August 1, 2014]

This week, the City Council unanimously voted yes in favor of adding two measures to the November ballot.

What’s on the docket?

$25 million annually for street funding would maintain the level of street work completed annually under the 2004 Street Bond. In addition projects would be prioritized across multiple needs, including pavement condition, bike and pedestrian improvements, utility infrastructure, stormwater management, and economic development. When the levy is passed the first project would start in downtown with a full repaving of the Lincoln and Monroe corridor from Main to 8th including sidewalk improvements, significant gateway improvements, new pedestrian lighting, street tree and landscaping improvements.

$60 million for implementation of the new Riverfront Park Master Plan, which was developed with considerable public input. The master plan increases public use space, upgrades infrastructure, and polishes our downtown gem. Re-positioning Riverfront Park as the epicenter of the Lilac City’s legacy events. The Master Plan outlines specific uses for space that balance the park’s status as a showcase for the river and a destination for visitors and commerce. For example; a seasonal ice skating rink at the Gondola Meadow near the Post and Spokane Falls Blvd intersection. For more information you can check out the Master Plan website here.

Below are three reasons we think these proposals are win-wins:

  1. It’s a replacement, not an increase: Currently, Spokane’s citizens pay 91 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value toward the repayment of three street and park bonds. With strategic refinancing, the dollars generated will be reallocated to the two separate proposals. Think of it as paying your same monthly cable bill, only now you get all the premium channels.
  1. Matching dollars: Anyone who’s ever taken advantage of 401k matching dollars knows that free money is a good idea, but you’ve got to invest to earn. Dollars generated for street improvements will be matched by local utility dollars and state and federal matching funds, essentially more than quadrupling resources. That’s five times as much awesome.
  2. It’s about time: We hear quite often that streets need an upgrade, not only will the street levy improve conditions, but it will also lengthen the life-span of integrated streets. This means your dollar is more efficient and future monies can go towards other vital projects as opposed to frequent street repairs. Forty years after Expo 74, Riverfront Park is ready for a make-over, investing in our one-of-a-kind (not to mention free to use) urban center not only revitalizes the park, but brings back the civic-pride we felt in 1974.