The City of Spokane, Washington has been lagging behind culturally and economically for some time, and it seems like officials are stuck in the past.
Spokane’s present mayor, Mr. David A. Condon, who was sworn in December of 2011, made his 100-day plan. The Certified Site program is of ‘preacting’ origins, and almost begs companies to take available parcels. What intrigues uninvolved planners most, far and away from the media statements, is that one of the requirements to take part in this program is that the, “Site must be a minimum of 3 contiguous, developable acres” [third bullet point down on their Evaluation Criteria]. The City doesn’t seem to encourage infill development, most notably downtown, with this barrier instilled. You will find that the average Target store’s building footprint (not the entire lot) is 2.9 acres. This program would encourage sprawl on the outskirts of Spokane, Washington rather than aid in the redevelopment initiatives of the downtown core, the up-and-coming University District, and the clamoring International District.
With all the initiatives to save the downtown from itself, why add this secretive and embarrassing barrier? Officials wouldn’t hide it in from the public unless they were ashamed and knew they were doing something wrong. This Local Economic Development (LED) program is poison for Spokane’s small business initiatives that are getting a lot of public and private support. In 2011, Spokane doubled their small business ‘incubators’ and resource/skill offices. The City is willing to pump tax dollars into contradicting programs that will feud whether they acknowledge it now or too late. I hope that the program will meet its half-baked fate in the faces of those who threw the pie.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.