Midtown Park – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist
Learn more about 2021 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist, Midtown Park (Houston, TX).
Location: Spokane, WA, United States
Developer: City of Spokane Parks and Recreation
Designers: Berger Partnership; NAC Architecture; Jacobs; Dark Light Design; Land Expressions; Garco Construction; Hill International; Walker Construction; DH; GuildWorks, LLC; Stantec Engineers; Bernardo Wills; SPVV
Site Size: 100 Acres
Riverfront Park occupies 100 acres in downtown Spokane, Washington, along the Spokane River, unifying three river channels and waterfalls with park space and cultural treasures. A cherished regional destination, it welcomes over three million visitors annually and hosts community events and festivals from tribal powwows to 4th of July fireworks.
The falls are a stunning natural wonder that were heavily utilized for industry until a forward-looking vision reclaimed the site as the home of the 1974 World’s Fair (Expo ’74), ensuring that the river, falls, and shoreline remain public parkland in perpetuity.
40 years after Expo ’74, Riverfront Park needed reinvestment. Spokane citizens overwhelmingly approved a $64 million bond to reimagine their park. While it can be challenging to transform cherished architectural icons rooted in civic memory of past greatness, Riverfront Park is a model of breathing new life into aging civic icons and carefully honoring generations of memories while crafting forward-looking public spaces.
The reimagined Riverfront Park reconnects people to the river, restores ecology, reengages with the heritage of the Spokane Tribe, serves as a reinvigorated venue for community events, and is embraced as a cherished gathering place and beacon of civic pride. Even as COVID-19 upended the park’s planned programs and events in its first year of operation, the park thrived with management nimbly transitioning to pop-up events, art, and activities that continued to draw people to the park for appropriately distanced activities, separated yet connected, forging a strong sense of community when it was so desperately needed.