Downtown park under construction

Decisions for Riverfront Park’s construction are underway as renovation committee prepares for fall


Photo by Jasmine Kemp

Current view of the Spokane River running through the Riverfront Park.

By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer

Spokane’s Riverfront Park is receiving a full-body makeover 41 years after being constructed for the 1974 World Exposition.

Voters passed a $64.3 million Riverfront Park bond proposition with 68.58 percent on the November 2014 general elections ballot, according to Spokane County election results.

Of that money, $60 million is going toward park renovations and $4.3 million is going to pay off the debt service. Debt service is the cost required to meet all interest and principle payments during a period of time.

There is still preparatory and design work to do before construction can begin, said project manager Juliet Sinisterra.

On the Riverfront Park bond implementation plan, the first day of construction will occur after Labor Day weekend in 2015 and is estimated to continue until spring 2019.

The process is currently in the pre-design study portion of the master plan, which will ideally end in April, said Sinisterra. The studies taking place include looking into habitat, storm-weather management plans, power use and infrastructure.

According to Sinisterra, all these technical studies will cost $250,000.

Along with new infrastructure and lighting, the master plan calls for an additional promenade, a refurbished pavilion, an improved carousel, a relocated Ice Palace and a new set of bridges.

Sinisterra said the development of Riverfront Park is a complex project because, when construction does begin, the park will still be running, holding events and needing to bring in revenue.

The Riverfront Park Committee recently decided to use a general contract construction manager (GCCM) for the project’s construction deliveries, said Sinisterra. Before the committee can use a GCCM, they need to go in front of the Washington state legislature to get it approved.

Under Washington state law, a public project not certified under public contracts and indebtedness 39.10.270 must apply for approval from the committee, which is the Capitol Project Advisory Review Board in this case, to use the design-build or a GCCM on a project.

To help with getting approval for using the GCCM on the project, the Riverfront Park Committee will hire a GCCM adviser, said Sinisterra. The committee hopes to be in front of the state by either the end of March or May.

Sinisterra said the committee chose to go with a GCCM because they can hire them early on in the process and because the GCCMs can help coordinate the construction and be involved in the design.

“Even though we’ll have this one GCCM that will be coordinating all the construction in the park and overseeing all the subcontractors, all of the design work will still be bid out so there are still a lot of opportunities for lots of local contractors to be involved in the project,” said Sinisterra.