City of Spokane proposing new pedestrian bridge

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by MIKE GONZALEZ & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 4:40 AM

Updated Friday, May 23 at 7:15 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Spokane City officials said a pedestrian and bicycle bridge linking the University District to East Sprague Avenue is the missing piece of the puzzle for the developing corridor.

Officials said the project could cost the city as much as $14 million to build it.

About 100 yards east of the intersection of Martin Luther King and Sherman is where the bridge will be built. City officials and a resident of Downtown believe the bridge is what Spokane needs to clean up Sprague.

Patrica Kienholz believes the proposed bridge linking the Washington State University campus to East Sprague is a gateway to new development.

“I’d really like to see access from the SOTO neighborhood over to the University District and the Centennial Trial,” said Kienholz.

Kienholz attended Thursday night’s meeting. She has lived near Washington and Pacific in Downtown Spokane for several years and said the bridge has much more value than just walking and riding over.

“I think the benefit of connecting the hospital to the University District is imperative and the development that will follow with the East Central Neighborhood and the Sprague Corridor and further up to the hospital will be great,” said Kienholz.

City officials made their pitch to the public on why the bridge, that will stand 120 feet above the railroad tracks, is a good thing for Spokane.

The city will be funding the project through what is called a TIGER grant. If they do not get the grant, it will not be built anytime soon.

A TIGER grant, or a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant, is a federal grant designed to spur development that may have a significant impact on metropolitan area. The city must prove it will enhance the safety, economic competitiveness and livability of an area.

The project will start in late 2015 if the city gets the TIGER grant.  If the grant does not come through, the city is not sure where it will go for funding.

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