The municipalities of Sprague, Wilbur, and Creston are joining forces to begin planning revitalization projects in their downtowns.
The Inland Northwest towns were expected to select a program manager and engineer team this week to design three separate plans to invigorate their commercial districts and repair aging infrastructure, says Carla Shirley, Wilburs clerk and treasurer. That $35,000 contract will kick off the development of strategies to improve building facades, create themes that brand each town, and generally beautify the business areas, she says.
This is just the beginning, Shirley says. I imagine this is going to be going on for several years.
The contract is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments community development block grant program, says Wilbur Mayor Don Reid. The plans will address safety concerns in the towns cores, such as decaying streets and sidewalks, and make the communities more attractive by installing outdoor lighting and other fixtures.
Such streetscape improvements could attract business and visitor spending, he says.
Were hoping to put a prettier face forward and tempt more small businesses to come to our areas, Reid says. If you can stop a tourist and get a dollar out of them, thats good, too.
The first of several public meetings involving all three towns and the manager-engineer team is scheduled for Sept. 24.
The towns are working together on the planning phase to save money, Shirley says. The construction phases, should they come to fruition, would be funded separately through grants, local-improvement districts, and other sources derived by each municipality, she says.
Its rare for towns to pool their resources and fund such a planning effort, Shirley says.
The population in each rural town is small. Sprague, which is located about 35 miles southwest of Spokane on Interstate 90, has fewer than 500 people; Wilbur, which is 65 miles west of Spokane on U.S. 2, has about 880 people; and Creston, which is 55 miles west of Spokane on U.S. 2, has 225 people.
Sprague Mayor Sylvia Fox says work needs to be done on that citys roads and sidewalks, as well as on the structures that line them.
The town has bled business in recent years, she says.
Now we have some taverns, a market, a bank, a vet, and a bakery that opens once every three weeks, she says. We want these little businesses that are having a tough time to get more customers.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE