Revitalizing North Monroe is not a new idea. A bit of digging reveals these thoughts of what North Monroe COULD become have been swirling for some time. In fact, one of the first initiatives of the North Monroe Business District at its original founding in 2006 was to pursue grant funding for the conceptual design of a beautified and pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Funding was awarded in 2007, and the Spokane office of Abbotswood Design Group reflected the ambitions of the business district in brickwork intersections, old-fashioned street lighting with hanging flower baskets watching over marked pedestrian crossings, green spaces and street trees intermingling with decorative banners and other amenities aimed at slowing traffic and encouraging drivers to stop and shop in the district.
Fast-forward to 2013, and the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Planning effort is underway as part of the scheduled 2017 update to the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Spokane. The Comprehensive Plan is a 20-year vision for the City and a roadmap for Spokane’s future that sets the framework for physical, social, and economic development of the City. Nearly two years of collaboration amongst stakeholders, hosting outreach events, and finally presenting to the City Council, the EG Neighborhood Plan was written and unanimously adopted for inclusion in the Comprehensive Plan. A primary focus of the document was North Monroe and the priority issues that greatly affect the community it cuts through: pedestrian safety, beautification, business diversity & occupancy, community resources, alternative & public transportation, and neighborhood life.
Now, we find ourselves with $4.1 million in State and Federal safety grants to overhaul North Monroe. STA received an additional $620,000 grant to incorporate high-performance transit and consolidate transit stops, and the City has added approximately $2.5 million in local funds (about $7.1 million total for project). This is an amazingly prompt reply to concerns raised by neighborhood stakeholders, and all those keen to see a safer and more vibrant North Monroe come to life. Construction is slated for 2018.
This event welcomed 493 volunteers for a total of 2008.5 volunteer hours. $19,205.04 was donated in supplies and other items to complete the projects, and the donation bins at local businesses throughout April brought in 1,698 food, hygiene, cleaning, pet food, medicine, and clothing items! So inspiring, thank you again to everyone! Make sure to visit Monroe, and see for yourself the improvements to business exteriors, landscaping, and even public art!
The City of Spokane has officially and definitively announced that they will be moving forward with the North Monroe project. It is our sincere hope that with this decisive statement, our members can move forward in their own individual planning and strategizing more confidently, as well as continue to invest in the collaborations that will make our district as a whole less vulnerable and better prepared to weather construction this time next year.
The North Monroe Business District is excited to partner with the City of Spokane’s Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) for an event called Cleaning From The Corridor (CFTC) – scheduled for late April. Last year, East Sprague was chosen as the focus area of this one-day event.
The City of Spokane is seeking input from citizens on the design and elements of the North Monroe Corridor project to improve and "right-size" North Monroe St from Indiana to Cora, planned for construction in 2018. A public open house regarding the project is scheduled on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, 806 W. Knox.
There is only so much space from storefront to storefront, and according to our City's Comprehensive Plan, Monroe comes up 25 feet shy of the necessary space to accommodate five laves of traffic.
Following a call for applications, members were appointed to serve for the duration of the project committee, which turned out to be from July through December of 2016.