Conference mobile workshops explore Spokane area planning highlights


Legacy and Prophecy Mobile Workshops

Looking to infuse your downtown with some energy? Trying to figure out how to modernize that old park site? Or wondering how agricultural tourism can be a destination?

If so, you won’t want to miss the three mobile workshops that are being offered at the APA Washington Conference on October 16 and 17 in Spokane.   The mobile workshops highlight successful redevelopment projects that are spurring downtown revitalization, redefining the iconic Riverfront Park, and showing how a bunch of old-fashioned farms banded together to diversify their activities and establish themselves as a destination.    

All three tours highlight tangible success stories and tools. Don’t feel compelled to choose just one. The fall weather in Spokane is warm, and the changing scenery is absolutely beautiful. Don’t forget to sign up for a tour when you register for the conference. Space is limited, and you won’t want to miss out.      
Eds, Meds and Downtown Revitalization
The Eds, Meds, and Downtown Revitalization tour provides a great opportunity to hear from local partners who are working together to revitalize downtown Spokane. The tour takes you downtown and to peripheral neighborhoods to visit:
•    A construction site of a 17-story hotel
•    A new biomedical and pharmaceutical health and science building—the city’s first full medical education facility
•    An early 20th century streetcar maintenance facility turned energy-efficient office building
•    A new mixed-use development on a formerly contaminated rail yard site that includes restaurants, offices, services, and high density residential along the Spokane River and Centennial Trail.

Local leadership will describe how economic development tools, including tax increment financing and historic preservation credits, were used to encourage and support development.  At each stop you will hear from the developers and partners describing their successes and challenges.  Speakers include the CEO of the Spokane Public Facilities District, business development director for McKinstry, and chancellor of WSU-Spokane.   Be prepared to be impressed. These sites represent some very exciting transitions occurring in the Spokane area.

Riverfront Park 40 Years Later
Riverfront Park celebrates the city’s history, and it epitomizes the vibrant and powerful epicenter of the region. It was a place where Native Americans gathered to trade and fish, where pioneers settled and created a city, and where the railroad helped grow the regional economy. The world honored the memory of this location by bringing the first environmentally themed World’s Fair in 1974.  

Now 40 years later, the City of Spokane is looking at a comprehensive planning approach to the entire park and how it functions. This walking tour will lead you through the park to view its classic icons, the city’s maintenance and preservation efforts, and new features identified by the community in the 2014 Riverfront Park Master Plan. The city has some very exciting changes to redevelop and modernize the park, with ideas that include:
•    Restoration of the former World Fair Pavilion in to an event space, including a moveable dome with glowing and changing imagery, and a roof that can be open or closed
•    Relocation and redevelopment of the existing ice rink into a multipurpose facility to house summer uses such as a farmer’s market or platform for summer concerts, in addition to the colder-weather ice rink
•    Development of a destination playground as an interactive learning and play experience telling the story of the Ice Age floods in our region
•    Expansion of the hand-carved Looff Carousel

Don’t miss this tour if you are interested in public spaces or park planning. The ideas are exciting and edgy!  

Green Bluff
You won’t want to miss the Green Bluff tour if you are interested in the latest trends of agro-tourism. This district is located about 15 minutes north of Spokane, covers 12 square miles, and consists of more than 30 diverse farms.  This local attraction offers a variety of activities, including pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, seasonal festivals, hayrides, fun runs, and beer and wine tasting. You can even get married up there.  During pumpkin harvest and fall festivals, the popular area attracts families in numbers that rival rock concerts.

The Green Bluff story is one of evolution. Over the years the district has been forced to diversify its markets to survive and developed a growers association to collectively market the farms and their products.  Local farmers will discuss how they have adapted to new markets, including craft beer brewing, wedding and event centers, and cherry trots.  Of course with every success come impacts. The president of the Growers Association will share some of the growing pains, including challenges with county regulations, traffic impacts, and even internal struggles amongst the farmers themselves as they embrace or reject some of the latest trends.