Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 12:33 p.m.
Before a lot of us have our first cup of coffee, crews are braving the cold, pulling a blanket of snow off Riverfront Park.
Riverfront employees realized they would have to step up their snow removal game because new attractions are luring people into the park, even in the dead of winter.
“You know the Carrousel is now renovated. We have updated pathways in the Promenade. We have the Pavilion and beautiful landscaping underneath and the light show. And of course, behind me is the Numerica Skate Ribbon,” said Garrett Jones, Director of Spokane Parks & Rec.
In fact, the Numerica Skate Ribbon presents the park’s staff with a unique set of challenges. Surprisingly, snow and skate ice don’t mix. So, any time there’s more than a skiff, crews have clear it off before the ice conditioner can make its rounds.
“And it’s interesting, when we went through the master plan process; we wanted to create a new ice ribbon that had an outdoor environment that felt like a park. Well, part of that is not having a cover,” explained Jones.
And, at all cost, snow removal crews have to protect the Skate Ribbon from its archenemy, the dreaded deicer.
“You know deicer here; we’re trying to make ice. And so, tracking it in on your shoes, even just a little bit, if that gets on the ice surface, it kind of defeats the purpose of all the hard work our staff does making ice,” cautioned Jones.
Salt-based deicers can also damage young concrete so the park staff improves traction with the help of sand.
That’s important to hundreds of pedestrians who use the park as part of their daily commute.
“Fabulous! We would have not walked through if there had been snow because your feet would have gotten wet and cold. So no, it’s great,” Gail Watson-Fulsaas said of the snow control efforts.
While Riverfront has more than a dozen pieces of equipment to speed up snow removal, a lot of the park’s most popular attractions have to be shoveled by hand.
“And they want to make sure you have safe pathways to use in the morning because this is a 365 day a year attraction and we want to make sure every citizen has the ability to use it,” Jones said, in a nod to his Park Operations staff.
Before their day is out, park employees hope to remove show from almost 200,000 square feet of paths and walkways.
So, don’t let a little winter weather keep you from enjoying Riverfront Park.