Notice: Construction is ongoing in Riverfront Park and may impact some bicycle and pedestrian routes. Before you visit, please see the latest construction map for the best routes around redevelopment zones. Some attractions are currently unavailable due to redevelopment.
One of the top three new attractions requested by the public is a destination playground. Current concepts that are being explored include the development of a large 1 acre playground as an outdoor learning and play experience that tells the story of how the Ice Age Floods shaped our region.
Because of the dynamic nature of the Ice Age Floods and the rich imagery of its components, its story can be transformed into an exciting play environment that also offers rich, multi-dimensional learning opportunities. It aims to provide a completely interactive and fun way for children, families and interested people to learn about our region's unique geologic history.
When Parks and Recreation removed the UTF skate park, we promised a replacement. Grindline conducted a study to advise on best locations, and those were Liberty, AM Cannon, and Riverfront – the most highly desired based on community feedback. Staff have long been supportive of a wheels park in Riverfront, and are thrilled to see it take shape on the north bank alongside other developing amenities that will provide free recreation for all ages and abilities.
Grindline and Bernardo Wills architects held a Focus Group in December, an Open House in January, and an online survey that gathered important feedback from the wheels community and shaped the design.
The design for the Spokane Riverfront Wheels Park faced challenges from the beginning, but these challenges led to creative solutions that resulted in a truly unique wheels park. The site had concrete walls on the east and west side as well as a basalt cliff that borders the north side. A dry creek bed that separates the two phases of the design (one funded, the other a fundraising project) allowed for a gap jump over the creek bed as well as a handrail and down ledge that connect the two phases.
Based on public input, Phase 1 is mostly street features with a transitioned wall ride on the east side. Phase 1 also incorporates a flat bar that used to be part of the UTF skate park that was very popular with our local skateboarding community. Phase 2 adds two bowls which utilize the wall of the operations and maintenance building for a slanted wall ride.
More information about the fundraising project for Phase 2 will be announced summer 2019. The wheels park is anticipated to open late summer 2020. Thank you to the Friends of Spokane Skate Parks, a 501c3, for their collaboration.
The goal of the playground is to create an adaptive, safe, dynamic, high quality nature-based play/learn environment for children of all abilities and their families. It will be incredibly unique in its capacity to provide both passive and active recreation with age-appropriate play areas for children to interact with water and landscape features depicting the ice age floods geologic story.
Through a request for qualifications, and in competition with other excellent firms, local landscape architects from Bernardo Wills were selected to design the regional playground and entire North bank of Riverfront.
In addition to landscape architects and architects, the design team includes a geology professor with expertise in the ice age floods of our area, a skate park designer, a playground safety inspector with a focus on adaptive design, and engineers of multiple specialties including stormwater.
We are grateful to our partners for grant applications and project design: the City of Spokane Therapeutic Recreation Program, Access 4 All Spokane, Spokane County Accessible Communities Advisory Committee, the Ice Age Floods Institute and the YMCA.
Playground, Wheels Park, Parking, Maintenance Building, Additional Amenities
The budget for the design and construction of the North Bank is nearly $7.8M. Parks & Recreation recently received a $500,000 grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office to go towards the new playground. These grant funds will help take an already great project to the next level in providing a unique recreational experience for all ages and abilities unlike anything else in the region.