Spokane Journal of Business

Work on Riverfront Park projects hits full stride

Ice ribbon, structure set for November completion

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-—City of Spokane
Spokane-based Walker Construction Inc. is making progress on the frame for the $10.2 million reconstruction of the Looff Carrousel building.

The city of Spokane parks department says it plans to open the new Riverfront Park ice rink—and ticket office for the rink and Skyride facility—in November.

“The desire is to make the ice ribbon a destination place as the holidays approach,” says Fianna Dickson, communications manager for the city’s park department.

“We want to activate that area with lights and music so that when you finish a meal or complete some shopping that you’ll want to walk across the street and skate,” Dickson says.

Construction of the ice rink, called an ice ribbon because of its design, started in January. An accompanying skating pond will be located south of the Skyride facility. The ribbon will be 650 feet long and 16 feet wide with slight increases and decreases in elevation. The ice rink and ticket office project costs $9.4 million, Dickson says.

In November 2014, Spokane voters approved a $64.3 million bond measure to provide funding for an overhaul of the aging park.

Dickson says the original bond approval amount has earned $1.6 million in interest, which now gives the city $65.9 million in bond money to spend.

“With a five-year window to spend those funds, there’s flexibility to reprioritize projects,” she says.

Dickson says a design-build team now is in the midst of a 120-day study period examining current structures near the park’s pavilion. 

The team is trying to determine whether there are buildings that can be demolished beginning this year. That process wasn’t scheduled to start until 2018. 

The 120-day study concludes at the end of July, Dickson says.

Berger Partnership PS of Seattle, Spokane-based Garco Construction Inc., NAC Architecture PS of Spokane, and THEVERYMANY, a New York-based architectural firm, comprise the members of the design-build team, she says.

Riverfront Park, which hasn’t seen major improvements since it was constructed for the environmentally themed Expo ’74 world’s fair, attracts between 2 million and 2.5 million visits per year, city statistics show.

Dickson says construction crews remain on schedule for all projects currently underway on the park’s south end.

Spokane-based Walker Construction Inc. has started construction on the $10.2 million Looff Carrousel project, as work there has recently become more visible to the public. 

NAC Architecture designed the new building that will house the carrousel. Dickson says the project is expected to be finished by early next year.

The carousel draws 500,000 riders per year. Until the new building is finished, the carousel rides are being refurbished and stored at another site, Dickson says.

The $7.2-million Howard Street Bridge South Channel construction project, being built by Athol, Idaho-based T LaRievere Equipment & Excavation Inc., is expected to be finished this fall. Construction of the new bridge meant demolition of the former Howard Street Bridge, Dickson says.

The new bridge has four pilings that were constructed at the bottom of the Spokane River, which support three spans across the river, she says.

“Despite the cold water from a hard winter, and high water from a spring runoff, the crews were generally able to stay on their time schedule without substantial delay,” Dickson says.

She says the riverbed where one of the pilings was placed proved to be deeper than what construction crews originally anticipated, which resulted in a two-day delay on the project.

The redesigned bridge will enable pedestrians to walk just above the surface of the Spokane River. That portion of the bridge will have benches for viewing the river.

The Spokane office of engineering firm CH2M Hill Inc. drafted the design for the complete demolition and rebuild of the bridge.

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