Board approves Riverfront Park rides study

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

SPOKANE, Wash. -If there is any glimmer of hope that the rides will return to Spokane’s Riverfront Park, it happened Thursday afternoon.

While the sun beat down on the Skate Ribbon right outside Spokane City Council chambers, members of the Park Board debated whether to approve a study that will look at potential location, development, and cost of the rides.

Board members voted 7-3 to approve the study, which was initially slated to cost $25,000. But an amendment to the resolution nixed the cost from the study.

Before the vote, a handful of people in favor of the rides presented testimony to the board, including Hal McGlathery, who is the former Riverfront Park Director and a strong proponent of the rides.  

“Even though there are cell phones and video games and so forth, rides are still exciting to people and to the kids,” said McGlathery. "And if everybody puts their kid's shoes on they'll remember, however many years they have to go back, how exciting rides are. There’s just something about them.”

The rides, which once filled the U.S. Pavilion, were not included in the 2014 master plan regarding the park's redevelopment.

According to the resolution, the study is looking at whether the rides should return to the North Bank of the park.

Opponents of the rides say they are too old and too costly to operate, and no longer fit the vision for the park. McGlathery wants board members opposed to the rides to consider refurbishing them or purchasing new ones.

Current plans for the North Bank include a playground with a geological theme featuring the history of the great Missoula flood, the Sportsplex, surface parking for 80 vehicles and the refurbishing of the picnic shelter and public restrooms.

The Parks and Recreation Division will carry out the study, which must be completed by September 1.

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