Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.622.5868
Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 8:57 a.m.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions and supply chain issues, the City of Spokane has kept moving forward with its economic development efforts.
“During 2021, we saw major improvements completed in Riverfront Park, improved your access to the Spokane River Gorge, and opened new schools for our children,” recalled City of Spokane Public Works Director Marlene Feist.
Even during the pandemic, crews from the city’s Public Works Department lived up to their namesake, and kept on working.
“Grind and overlay projects in every corner of the city and, new pavement around high profile attractions like the Arena and Podium,” Feist said of 2021 street improvements.
“And the work to make Spokane an inviting place for residents and visitors continues. Here on North River Drive, the city is funding new construction, laying down sidewalks to link pedestrians with the Ice Age Park, Hoopfest courts and all that Riverfront Park has to offer,” added Economic Development Director Steve MacDonald.
In order to help stimulate a lethargic pandemic economy, the City of Spokane accelerated the bid award process for already scheduled improvement projects.
“Every $1 million in public construction investment, typically supports 10 to 20 good-paying jobs in our community. And that’s a really important part of this, more people working,” stressed Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward.
Renovations along East Sprague Avenue, including new water and sewer lines, have paved the way for more investment and development.
“You add in things like the University District Gateway Bridge and suddenly, we have a place where people want to be, they want to work and play and live,” Feist proclaimed.
Also in 2021, the City of Spokane completed a $350 million upgrade a for our Wastewater Treatment Plant to help reduce pollution in the Spokane River.
“Formerly, we’d probably putting out 75 pounds of phosphorus a day into the river. At this point, we’re probably putting out two to three pounds,” explained Spokane Wastewater supervisor Mike Coster.
The new membrane technology filters provide Spokane with some of the most advanced water treatment in the country.
“When we clean up that river, we give people even more reasons to connect with the river. The river is about economic growth,” emphasized Feist.
Spokane’s quality of life continues to help the city attract new businesses from across the country.
“Since the beginning of COVID, until January of 2022, Spokane had the second highest growth in job postings, on Indeed.com, of any city in the country. We’re continuing to see developer interest in Spokane from outside the region, which is very helpful. People want to come to Spokane,” touted MacDonald.
The City of Spokane is also laying the foundation for new growth in downtown Spokane by renovating Riverside Avenue.
“And from this spot, just to the east here, we can see the construction that’s happening on downtown’s newest residential tower and were very excited about it and it’s a great visual sign of the confidence investors have in our downtown. And, this is merely just the start of the investments into Riverside Avenue. In the future, downtown will not be the just place you drive through, but the place you drive to,” predicted Kevin Campbell from the Downtown Spokane Partnership.