downtown spokane blog

July 12, 2005


A Downtown Divided: Part I


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The division in downtown Spokane is more apparent than ever. Lines have been drawn, areas divided up, and what, you ask, is causing all this madness? (No, not turf wars between Shannon Sullivan and Jim West.) Downtown districts are proudly emerging, each with a uniqueness all their own.

This will be part 1 of a 6 part series looking into the planning and execution of six distinct areas formed or forming in or around downtown Spokane.

First up is the University District, which wrapped up its community workshop meetings in May. The finished result is a Strategic Master Plan that focuses not only on campus facilities, but also on mixed-use models to sustain the area. I encourage you to read the Strategic Master Plan to see all that is proposed for the district. It is inspiring.

Excerpt from the Strategic Master Plan: "Focuses will be on creating a vibrant mixed-use environment with housing, campus facilities, amenities, shopping, dining and gathering places. As envisioned, not only will housing units be constructed, but also permanent employment will be created through collateral businesses to support a growing student population.

Retail diversity will be one of the primary objectives, attracting students, faculty and out-of-district visitors. Retail corridors, that include professional services, cottage industries and entertainment venues, will be pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

A major element of this will be the construction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that will cross the existing Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railroad tracks at Grant Street. This bold concept will facilitate pedestrian and bicycle traffic directly to the south end of the Riverpoint Campus and provide a link to the underdeveloped commercial district around Sprague Avenue.

In summary, The University District is a bold vision and plan to attract a critical mass of top students, staff and faculty, cutting-edge researchers, and creative entrepreneurs – all of which are the catalysts for increased commercialization of technology, growth in our health care industry, and overall economic prosperity for the region. It builds upon and incorporates existing plans, activities and assets — leveraging them into a strong economic engine that lays the foundation for Spokane’s growth in the next century. It is time to forge Spokane’s new destiny."

link: University District
link: Strategic Master Plan