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Comments

Alberto

I think the building should be used as the Science Museum everyone wants. I mean look at it, it looks like scientist would do their research inside of it anyway! I also think that renovating an older building and adding some expansions to it would be much cheaper and realistic than building a brand new one. Who's with me on this one?

Levi

I think that Alberto's got the right idea especially when he suggests renovating the existing building; it's an eyesore as it stands now.

When it comes to the pavilion I think that the plan described in the SR article is a good one; it suggests turning the pavilion into an outdoor amphitheatre, opening up the northside and improving access to the river. The attractions could be replaced and located next to Mobius (which needs to be built!) on the north bank of the river. Thanks metrospokane for bringing this to our attention!

rob

As I look back on the past of Spokane, I can't help but notice the poor timing of many major decisions the city and county make. There is hardly anyone in local government that has any forward thinking. They act like a kid that has a toy box full of toys that they never use and as soon as someone comes along and trys to play with their un-used toys, they do everything in their power to prevent it! Were are the visionaries, where are the leaders. They think that they are doing the city and Spokane residence a favor, but they are just wasting our money. Do they think that in 20 years people will look back and say " thank God the park board purchased that property for 5 million, what would we do without a place for rift-raft and the homeless to hang out by" That is what will continue if the land is not used to bring in actual tax paying residence who would live, work, and play in downtown. PARK BOARD YOU ARE NOT LOOKING OUT FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CITY EVEN THOUGH YOU THINK YOU ARE.

Levi

Now that it's posted I see that my previous comment needs some clarification. I support the renovation of the YMCA building and I certainly think it should be a public venue but I really like the idea of Mobius, the science center being located on the north bank of the river. The north bank needs a shot in the arm especially east of the arena where the science center is going to be built.

Levi

Rob-
I'm afraid that your comments seem short sighted and frankly pessimistic; which is very common here in Spokane. I think that what we would regret 20 years down the road would be the imposing tower on the banks of our river not to mention the other towers that might be built after this one. The organizers of expo '74 certainly wouldn't be called short sighted and if the parks department were to preserve the YMCA property they would only be continuing that legacy of preservation for the public benefit. It sounds to me that according to your arguement all the parks ought to be turned into high rises to boost taxes, line the pockets of developers and keep the public or "riff-raff" out.

Contrarian

Levi,

If Riverfront Park, and downtown Spokane in general, is to be perceived as safe and inviting at night it requires a residential presence. Every great urban park is surrounded by residences, usually high-rises, who tend to use the park as their backyard. Those are the people who keep the park alive at night.

Downtown Spokane is an uninhabited desert after the restaurants close. As a result it is perceived as uninteresting, and unsafe --- even scary.

And, no, no one is implying that "all parks ought to be turned into high-rises to boost taxes." People need parks, but parks also need people. They are interdependent. Bringing more people to the park would yield far greater "public benefit" than adding a couple more acres of grass.

It is amazing how anti-growth zealots can argue for high-density development to curb "sprawl," yet oppose, with a straight face, every high-density proposal to come along.

Meghan Pinch

hi folks, great debate going here! I just left a longer response at the Out There Monthly blog, but wanted to let you know that renovating the building was definitely something my dad and I explored back when we had an active purchase and sale agreement with the YMCA. However, the building is noncomplying with current shoreline setbacks- it is way too close to the river (actually if you go in the basement, the river is running through the basement!!!), so anything major, unless you use the existing building shell, would actually need to be a teardown and rebuild. Which, to be honest, is better, since buildings shouldn't be so close to the riverbed anyhow. A larger setback would open up that river corridor for better public access, which is much needed there.

Meghan Pinch

Also, just wanted to point you to a reference about key factors in keeping parks safe, which is on the project for Public Places website, here:
http://www.pps.org/info/design/toronto_safety_2

Some key points that apply to Riverfront park- 1) parks need diversity in users at all times of the day- more eyes on each other means less bad activity; 2) good maintenance is critical because it projects a sense that the park is well-used. These are two areas that, from my perspective, could be much improved in the park. Cheers!

Levi

I wouldn't consider myself an "anti-growth zealot," just an advocate for resposible growth which certainly includes high density. I admire Meghan and her father for proposing such a wide range of solutions for the site many of which exemplify responsible high density growth. I also agree that a residential population in downtown and the amenities to support them are vital to the health of our community.

I think I've come to the conclusion that if by using CF funds all we gain is a couple acres of grass then perhaps developement of a different sort is preferred. The debate rages on here and over at Out There Monthly...is anyone from the parks board listening??

S

As someone who actually lives downtown I often walk with my dog in the park around dusk. It's already great and becoming nicer by the day as more people are encouraged to live downtown BECAUSE OF condos like the small tower on the North bank by the Flour Mill. A science center would be great, but condos would be just as effective and far more beneficial to the downtown economy.

Seriously, there is SO much vacant property on the North side of the river. Tons of old buildings that it seems almost ridiculous to be fighting over a one-or-the-other kind of proposition. Build the condos and the science center.

One thing we have plenty of in Spokane is acres of pointless grass (that's another comment feed altogether), so I support the development hardily.

Silent Bahb

I have to disagree with you too, Levi. I think for the park to become a vibrant and safer park it requires the kind of resident presence granted by the Flour Mill tower and similar development. I'm often an anti-growth zealot but the second I saw that tower on the north side I got excited and felt that the City was on-track to becomming a truly urban density center. I watch eagerly for the day that other properties on the north side, most notably the old bakery next door to the flour mill, begin to develop with similar high-density residential uses. Bring on the condos and you bring on the night-life and a safer park!

Oh my God. Did I just agree with Contrarian? Someone slap me! Quick!

Levi

Silent Bahb and Everyone Else-

My problem does not lie with high density urban development. My problem does lie with developers and city officials that with no regard for the public either build where it is inappropriate or build with no regard for aesthetics. Once we've determined that it is appropriate to build on the YMCA site then we can discuss aesthetics and the kind of amenities available to both residents and the public. The Flour Mill tower to me shows very little regard for aesthetics and offers no immediate benefit to the public.

From what Meghan Pinch has said they've taken into account the aesthetics and public and private amenities. Like I said in past posts, I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea; it just needs to be done responsibly and with public oversight. I certainly agree with silent bahb that the north side of the river could use some of that high density development. What's going on with the YWCA property?

rob

Levi,

I would recommend that you check some previous SR articles if you are concerned about the aesthetics of the development proposal for the park property. They were pretty good. The developer had plans to build a public access boardwalk with wonderful river views, and a dog park for the public. Sounds like an "immediate benefit" to the public to me!

In addition, please keep in mind that while responsible development is important, it is also important to make the project feasible. We want responsible development, but not at the expense of no development!

Jim

I agree Rob. This project has been well vetted. If we wait around for Chesrown to get things moving at Kendall Yards we will see little new downtown development with Riverfront Park underutilized except as a setting for criminal activity. New condos equate with increased usage by ordinary working or retired folks who wish to recreate in the neighborhood. With this activity comes better restaurants and night life. Crime will move out accordingly.

J

Slap! (for you Silent Bahb)...Oh wait...I agree with Contrarian too. He must have taken my advice from a previous post! :)

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