It was hot outside, but inside Council Chambers heads were cool. All votes were unanimous last night and almost all testimony was supportive of Council actions (don’t worry, it won’t last.) Council took the final vote to place the Streets Levy and the Park Bond on the November ballot. These are two important measures that I strongly support. Great cities double-down and and make smart investments when emerging from a recession–which is exactly what these measures will do. I commend the Mayor, his staff, and all the citizen volunteers at Parks and Streets who have worked so hard to craft these measures. In my mind these votes are two out of three important projects that are needed to spur job growth and make out city more competitive. The third item is Spokane Transit’s Moving Forward ballot measure which should happen next year. Improving bus service and building the Central City Line will be a key economic driver for our City. If we can pass this two measures first then folks will have been streets to travel on and a major revamped Riverfront Park to go to.
Council also passed the Emerson Garfield Neighborhood Plan. This has been almost 2 years in the making and includes a great vision for increased pedestrian safety and a revitalized Monroe Street business corridor. Congratulations to all the citizens who followed the process and the many meetings to come up with this document.
In addition we passed two emergency budget ordinances; one to accept a FEMA grant and another to improve our permitting system. We also passed to item that will greatly improve the long-term financial health of our City pension system. I have been asking for these changes for two years along with fellow members of the Spokane Employee Retirement Systems board so it’s great to finally see them getting done. Lastly, we approved the removal of one aging skywalk staircase that will help the redevelopment of the Bennet Block. The removal will be paid by the property owner and the staircase functionality will be replaced by new, internal staircases.