Jeff Humphrey

Living Up to a Legacy

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Friday, April 7, 2023 at 2:39 p.m.

A lot of us were not even born when Spokane hosted the World’s Fair.

The event, almost 50 years ago, transformed a rail yard into what would eventually become Riverfront Park.

“I think we can learn a lot from our past leaders who brought Expo ’74 to this community. It’s really about collaboration, problem solving and coming together. And I think those are three elements we do not want to lose, as a community, as we move forward,” said Garrett Jones, Director of Spokane Parks & Recreation.

And that’s why, as Spokane gets ready to celebrate Expo’s 50th anniversary, Riverfront continues to move forward.

“And this is where the new section of the Gorge Loop Trail will get its start, just below CSO 26. This elevated ramp will continue on underneath the Monroe Street Bridge. Part of our plan to draw the fun and activities of Riverfront Park down inside the gorge,” Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said as she stood just below CSO 26.

A little more than two years ago, the Spokane Club signed an easement allowing the city to blaze a new section of trail.

“This is not a view many people have seen before, on the south side of the river. So, being able to come down here, through this space, appreciate the bridge and appreciate the water. It’ll be a pretty cool experience,” explained Nick Hamad, Park Planning and Development Manager.

Another part of the Expo ’74 legacy was construction of a pair of pedestrian bridges that brought visitors closer to the falls than ever before.

“Look right behind me. The power of the Spokane River Falls is unreal. And, if you stand here in the spring, and you feel that spray on your face, there’s really no other location you can get that experience,” added Hamad.

But, a half century of spray is rusting out the span’s rebar. The city has now hired a contractor to replace the bridge’s concrete deck, just in time for the Expo’s 50th anniversary.

“Half of that funding is coming from a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund administered by the state. And then, another half of that match is coming from the Spokane City Council. That’s above and beyond our typical park fund contributions for the year. So, great partnerships are making this happen,” Hamad said of the $2.8 million project.

And so thanks to partnerships, our park is not getting older. Riverfront Park is getting better.

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