Avista Corp., of Spokane, says it has launched an eight-month, $2 million project to renovate land it owns south and west of Avista Utilities' Post Street substation in downtown Spokane.
The area, known as Huntington Park, is named for the third president of the company, David L. Huntington, who served from 1910 to 1927. The renovation project is scheduled for completion in early 2014.
The renovation and enhancements to the walkways, grassy areas, and structures will provide residents and visitors with greater access to the Spokane River and views of the falls, Avista says. It also will provide visitors with interpretive displays, more park-like amenities, and enhanced safety in the area, the company says.
Much of the project area falls within the scope of the federal license Avista Utilities has to operate its Spokane River hydroelectric projects. Under that license and the Federal Power Act, the utility has an obligation to enhance public access near the river and recreation facilities appropriate to the setting.
"Our goal is to make the park more inviting and easier to access, as well as to tie it in with Riverfront Park, as the city moves forward with its master planning process," says Avista Corp. Chairman, President, and CEO Scott Morris. "We're very excited to have Huntington Park once again be the gateway to the lower falls of the river, much like it was when it was dedicated some 40 years ago as the city was preparing for Expo, 74."
The renovation of the 3.8-acre parcel, along with the addition of a public plaza that will replace a parking lot on the north side of City Hall, will foster greater connectivity between Riverfront Park and Huntington Park, the company asserts. Improvements include a new pedestrian crosswalk across Post Street between Riverfront Park and City Hall, as well as new stairs, ramps, sidewalks, lighting, grassy areas, and seating. An old power turbine and other artifacts will be added for interpretive displays, and a viewing area of the falls on the northwest corner of the historic Post Street substation building will be updated.
Work on the project began last week and is expected to continue through March 2014, to finish in advance of Avista's 125th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the World's Fair in Riverfront Park.
Avista Utilities, an operating division of Avista Corp., is involved in the production, transmission, and distribution of energy. It provides energy services and electricity to 362,000 customers and natural gas to 323,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with an overall population of 1.5 million.
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