Josh Morrisey, City of Spokane Parks & Recreation, Marketing Assistant, 509.625.6236
Monday, August 16, 2021 at 2:50 p.m.
On January 13, 2021, a devastating windstorm severely damaged the Expo ‘74 lilac butterfly on Riverfront Park's north bank after original welds broke under the extreme force of the 70+ mph winds.
Coffman Engineers and Garco Construction were quickly on scene to assess the damage and begin working on a plan to bring the butterfly safely back to Riverfront.
After reviewing a proposal from Coffman Engineers and GuildWorks in May, the Spokane Park Board approved $27,500 for Phase I of professional engineering services, covered through the Spokane Parks Foundation’s Campaign for Riverfront Spokane.
The Phase I design report was presented to Park Board members and stakeholders in early August. The report suggested several structural and aerodynamic modifications to enhance safety, creating the basis for the next-generation butterfly.
One of the report’s key elements was a new wing design with less metal framing and a flexible trailing wing edge. This approach is more in line with the butterflies as they flew during Expo ‘74, as a photo of a red butterfly during the World's Fair illustrates.
Proposed structural updates include:
The design report also explored several possible wing design styles which could make the butterfly more colorful and lifelike.
A vote by the Park Board on August 12 approved the Phase I designs, giving the go-ahead to negotiate a contract for the final design.
Early estimates for total design and construction range costs from $185,000 - $270,000. Construction costs for the lilac butterfly could utilize a mix of funding, between contingency reserves, park funding, and the Campaign for Riverfront Spokane.
The campaign continues to raise funds to bring a second Expo ’74 butterfly back to Riverfront Park, as well. Cost estimates range from $125,000 – $192,000. There are financial efficiencies to restoring the second butterfly at the same time as the first – up to $30,000. If you’re interested in donating to support butterfly restoration, visit the Spokane Parks Foundation website.
See the Phase I design report (PDF 6.3 MB).