Facing decreased use during construction, Riverfront Park closes Pavilion attractions for summer 2017

Paths, green space and events will remain open where construction is not active; park’s new attractions begin to open fall 2017

Fianna Dickson, 509.625.6297

Friday, October 14, 2016 at 4:06 p.m.

Construction in Riverfront Park during the summer of 2017 will make it difficult for people to access attractions in the Pavilion. Because of the barriers, Riverfront Park is facing a projected revenue loss of $1.2 million as a result of operating attractions with diminished use. To reduce expenses, the Park Board approved a budget that closes amusement rides, attractions and the IMAX next summer to accommodate construction.

The Park’s Ice Palace and Pavilion concessions will remain fully open through winter 2016/2017. After ice skating, the park will remain open to visitors, commuters, and for community-hosted events.

In the fall of 2017, the Recreational Ice Ribbon and SkyRide Facility opens, followed shortly after by the Looff Carrousel opening in early 2018.

The Park Board and Parks department leadership believe a revenue loss of $1.2 million is too great of an impact to the overall budget. Therefore, the 2017 budget closes attractions to result in less of a crunch—a projected $698,000 loss, covered through accommodations in other areas to create a balanced budget.

“We knew 2017 was going to be our biggest year for construction impacts, and we’re working diligently and consciously to minimize the impact to taxpayers, our employees and visitors,” said Leroy Eadie, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Spokane.

Closing the amusement rides next summer will impact temporary/seasonal staffing needs. Typically in the summer, Riverfront Park employs about 45 dedicated Full Time Equivalent temp/seasonal positions. Closing the Pavilion attractions will reduce the number of FTE temp/seasonal positions needed next summer to about 10. Additionally, the park anticipates a loss of one full-time position.

There are many temp/seasonal needs with the Parks and Recreation division and the City during the impacted summer timeframe, and leadership is working with Human Resources and Civil Service to make every effort to assist impacted employees.

In fall 2017 and early 2018, Riverfront Park anticipates job growth as construction projects are completed and facilities like the Recreational Ice Ribbon and SkyRide Facility and Looff Carrousel open. In the meantime, Riverfront Park employees will use the summer of 2017 to plan and prepare for the opening of the new park.

What will close in 2017:

  • Amusement rides and the IMAX
  • Looff Carrousel (under construction in 2017, will re-open in early 2018)
  • SkyRide (ticketing area under construction in 2017, will re-open in fall 2017)
  • Tour Train
  • Mini golf
  • Concessions (except Ice Palace concessions in winter 2016/2017)

What will remain open in 2017:

  • The Ice Palace and Pavilion concessions for ice skating during the winter of 2016/2017
  • Paths, green space and shelters will be accessible for visitors wherever construction is not active
  • The park will remain open for community-hosted events

Citizens can always provide input via in-person testimony at a Park Board meeting, via email to spokaneparks@spokanecity.org, by calling 625.6200, or writing to Park Board, City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA 99201.