SPOKANE, Wash. — The Riverfront Park Pavilion has been a centerpiece of the Spokane community for decades, and recent renovations are some of the biggest changes for the area in that time span.
But similar to today, Riverfront park was at the center of conversation 30 years ago.
People still fed the ducks and brought their children to the park, but the city didn't know what to do with it in 1989. They wanted to upgrade Riverfront Park, but struggled with nailing down a plan and finances.
"You know, I would love to go play laser tag! But I don't think laser tag and those developments are appropriate," a member of Spokane's Park Board said back in 1989 during a meeting.
There was a bidding war between two development companies that both wanted to take on the job of revamping the park. In the end, a company from Texas won.
Their plan was to make the pavilion a mega-entertainment center, with rooftop mini golf, an aquarium and more. But funding fell through and that project never happened.
That didn't stop the teenagers from the late 80's from using the park as a place to gather and, apparently, cause trouble.
A KREM reporter from 1989 said over the course of three days police arrested 17 people in Riverfront Park for drug related offenses. To combat the problem, the city council voted on an anti-loitering law for the area.
"They grabbed me twice Friday night and searched me just because I was standing around and the law hasn't even passed yet," a young adult said at the time.
That law did pass eventually, and politics remained important for the pavilion. Exactly three decades ago, President George H. W. Bush spoke at Riverfront Park, speaking about the same issues politicians discuss today.
"We must and will protect the environment. And we must and will protect the jobs of the working men and women of the state of Washington," he said to a large crowd.
The pavilion has been a large part of Spokane's history, from decades ago to today. The current renovations open to the public Friday evening in a two day grand re-opening event.
The following video is a report showing a tour of the new Riverfront Park Pavilion.