POST FALLS - Spokane Street in Post Falls' city center is about to get a makeover.
An estimated $2 million in improvements are planned for 2013 that will make the corridor from Fourth Avenue to the Spokane River bridge more pedestrian-friendly, aesthetically pleasing and calm traffic.
The project, which will be considered by the City Council on Tuesday, will be funded by urban renewal funds as the stretch is in the City Center Urban Renewal District.
The improvements include:
* a median with landscaped raised sections and landscaping on the east side of Spokane;
* a pedestrian/bike trail and landscaping on the west side of Spokane;
* improvements to the Centennial Trail crossing; and
* signalization at Fourth and Spokane.
"We have looked out to the future needs and impact of growth and development in structuring this project, and it includes a number of facets that will truly be for the benefit of the community," said Tom Lien, Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency executive director.
It hasn't been determined whether the project will be done in phases or all at once.
It is the latest effort toward the city's vision to create a vibrant downtown to complement City Hall, the chamber of commerce, Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center and the Post Falls Landing multi-use site. Several years ago, Fourth Avenue was improved.
Ironically, Post Falls' former downtown was located in the corridor before most of the buildings were demolished.
Improving Spokane Street is included in the City Center urban renewal plan from 2005. A technical advisory committee and the Urban Renewal Agency have approved the conceptual plan.
The City Council earlier considered the conceptual plan, but held off on approving it until questions such as what the maintenance cost to the city will be are answered. City staff has estimated the yearly maintenance cost at $3,000. Engineering and final design will start after the council signs off on the concept.
Urban renewal has approved the engineering contract for $138,100.
"Until we get into the engineering, we won't have a firm estimated cost of the project," said Gary Young of Verdis, a landscape architect firm.
Other proposed improvements in the corridor, including a pocket park and for an area around the water tower in Post Falls Landing, are on hold until the future of the Landing is settled.
Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Company recently took control of the Landing from developer Harry Green and is in talks with other developers to sell the site.