The Spokane River is closed to rafters and kayakers today, but summer weather and lower flows are right around the corner. That’s why it is exciting to announce plans for an access point at Glover Field in Peaceful Valley are moving ahead.
The City of Spokane is partnering with the Spokane Conservation District and the Spokane River Forum to take Glover Field Water Trail access through permitting and construction-ready design. This access, located just below the lower falls, Spokane City Hall and Huntington Park, will be a prime river gateway for anglers, rafters and paddlers.
Click here to see the preferred concept plan for Glover that Spokane Parks and Recreation adopted in 2015. That plan and related work the city has done with shoreline planning, geotechnical studies, habitat management planning and cultural resource surveys “was huge,” said Spokane River Forum Executive Director Andy Dunau. “Hats off to them for meeting with numerous stakeholders and holding public meetings with the neighborhood and others to get the design right.”
In the latest action, the Spokane Conservation District stepped up last week with funds to support design, engineering and cultural resource surveys for a put-in slide to the river, shoreline restoration, and development of the area leading up to the slide. Said Walt Edelen, Water Resources Program Manager for the district, “Restoring these areas is good for habitat, fish and water quality. And one of the best ways to protect restoration projects is making it safe and easy for people to get on and off the river without degrading the shoreline.”
Said Lindsay Chutas, Riparian Program Leader for the Conservation District , “We’re confident because we’ve successfully partnered with the Forum on restoration and building river access at State Line and Islands Trailhead. And we’re just finishing a terrific restoration and access project with the Forum and the City at the treatment plant.”
“The timing of Conservation District support is perfect,” said Scott Simmons, the City’s Public Works Division Director. “Our river is an incredible community asset and the more we engage our citizens with activities in and alongside the river, the more stewards of that asset we are creating.”
Brandon Blankenagel, a senior engineer in the City’s Integrated Capital Management Department, says the access point will complement street and infrastructure improvements that are planned for the area around Glover Field.
One reason the City is so interested in parking is that this will relieve congestion caused by people parking on Water Street to access the river, which is a neighborhood issue the city has been working on.
Blankenagel is leading coordination efforts with the conservation district, city parks and the Forum to pull the pieces together. Among the amenities being looked at is a way to celebrate the importance of this location for the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
According to Blankenagel, a strength of the concept plan developed by parks is that it provides a modular approach to the work. Once these first pieces are in place, work on the building, the field, and pathway connecting Glover to downtown can proceed.
“In a perfect world,” said Dunau, “we can complete permitting and get the funds lined up to initiate construction next year.”