Ambitious City Center Plan Moves Forward

<p>Despite the economic downturn, city officials in Spokane Valley, WA move forward with a plan to build something the city has always lacked: a true city center.</p>
June 13, 2008, 12pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"Since the city incorporated in 2003, officials there have been looking at designating a city center area that they say would help define the community's identity and create a centralized hub of civic, commercial, and residential activity. Development of a city center also is seen as a catalyst project in a larger plan to revitalize the Sprague-Appleway couplet into a bustling commercial and residential area."

"'The vision is to have a lively center, a truly mixed-use downtown,' says Scott Kuhta, the city's senior planner and city center project manager.

City officials are working on new zoning regulations for the U-City area that they hope will encourage mixed-use development there. They expect to have those new regulations in place by the end of September, Kuhta says.

"In a survey conducted by the city in 2004, 70 percent of the 400 respondents said they wanted a central gathering place for the city, and more than half picked U-City as the location for it, Kuhta says. A majority of respondents also said they would be willing to help pay for the city center, he says.

'When one looks at the city of Spokane Valley, there?s no central location that defines the city,' says Mayor Rich Munson. 'Until we're able to do that, we?ll be nothing more than a bedroom community for the city of Spokane.'

He adds, 'It's a lot more comfortable to stay in bed, but with change comes economic development and better-paying jobs. Vibrant communities are vibrant because they're willing to embrace change and controlled growth.'"

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Published on Thursday, June 12, 2008 in Spokane Journal of Business
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