EVENT: Public Transit Investment, Talent Attraction and Downtown Vibrancy: Lessons Learned from John Robert Smith

What are the best strategies to attract and retain a talented workforce and enhance downtown vibrancy?

There are many, but public transit is one that the Spokane area has recognized as important to long-term economic viability. Hear from Transportation for America Chairman and former mayor of Meridian Mississippi – John Robert Smith – about what other cities across the country are doing to enhance downtown vibrancy with Bus Rapid Transit and other strategies.

Public Transit Investment, Talent Attraction and Downtown Vibrancy: Lessons Learned from John Robert Smith (pdf flyer)

Wednesday, May 4thJohn-Robert-Smith

Doors open 8:00am
Event at 8:30am

Light breakfast served.

Philanthropy Center
1020 W. Riverside Ave.

RSVP: Kaitlin Larson
klarson@spokanecity.org or 625-6719

Sponsored by Avista, McKinstry, CH2M, Downtown Spokane Partnership, WSU Spokane, City of Spokane, Transportation for America, Futurewise & Empire Health Foundation

Mayor Smith currently serves as Chairman of Transportation for America, where he advises on strategy, capacity building, and national outreach. He became chairman in 2012 after leading Reconnecting America as President & CEO. Prior to his role there, he served as Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi for 16 years. During his tenure as Mayor, John Robert received acclaim for his aggressive facilitation of the public-private partnerships that resulted in over $430M of infrastructure projects that bolstered the economy and quality of life for the people of Meridian.  A recognized authority on public and private transportation & development funding, he guided the development and construction of the Southeast’s first multi-modal transportation center, Meridian Union Station.

A two-time graduate of the University of Mississippi and a Graduate of the Senior Executive in State & Local Government program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he is the co-owner of Point Investments and is a senior policy advisor to DC-based Smart Growth America. John Robert has served on numerous boards including the US Conference of Mayors, National Forum on the Future of Passenger Rail, and as a Chairman of Amtrak’s Board of Directors from 1998-2003; he was chairman the board for his last two years.

John Robert is a passionate supporter of the arts and is a recipient of the Americans for the Arts & US Conference of Mayor’s Local Arts Leadership Award. He maintains the homestead his grandfather built in Meridian, MS that has served five generations of family members.

Public Comment on Building Demolitions

Two buildings (1230 N Division St2015 N Elm St) are scheduled for demolition within 600 feet of the Emerson-Garfield neighborhood.

The City of Spokane is required to solicit public comments and concerns before accepting the demolition applications. Residents have 10 calendar days to submit their comments to permitmanager@spokanecity.org before demolition can begin.

Help Impove Garbage Pickup Routes

The City of Spokane’s Solid Waste Collection Department is about to embark on a route optimization study for our garbage, recycling and clean green pickups. Direct input from neighborhood representatives like you could shape the outcome.

The purpose of the study and the ensuing route changes is to balance the routes, improve efficiency and implement cost savings without negatively affecting city customers. Some service day changes will be inevitable, therefore they will need your help determining outreach and other efforts.


Spokane Solid Waste “clean green” collection map

In the next two to three weeks, Solid Waste Collection would like to meet with two neighborhood council representatives from each district and one at-large neighborhood representative to work on the study. Up to three meetings are anticipated over the next couple of months, preferably during business hours, but they might be able to take place outside business hours if necessary.

If you’re interested in representing Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood and the wider district as part of this short-term study, please e-mail your name and contact information to Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council co-chairs Carlie Hoffman and Tim Musser as soon as possible. You can reach them at chair@emersongarfield.org.

Welcome to The Lilac Shop!

There’s a new store opening along the North Monroe business corridor at 2209 N Monroe (where the dojo used to be). It’s called The Lilac Shop and it’s based on an interesting concept: pop-up retail, which is a relatively recent commercial trend that has to do with short-term storefronts.

Lilac Shop

Here’s what owner Alyssa Agee says about it:

The Lilac Shop is a POP-UP consignment shop specializing in men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and home decor items. We’re so excited to be a part of the North Monroe business community.

We’ll be opening our doors on Thursday, May 5 with a Grand Opening Party from 5–7pm. Please join us for desert, goodies, and a raffle!

The shop will feature gently used clothing but also housewares and home decor and furniture. Think boutique-chic meets thrift store pricing. We are also so proud to feature local artisans and their one-of-a-kind wares.

The shop will open May 5 and run only for the month of May. Opening days are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 12–6pm. Should the response be positive, Alyssa says she might be open to making the space an extended or even permanent home for The Lilac Shop.

In the meantime, check out the shop’s Facebook page, where you can also RSVP for the grand opening event.

If you’re interested in consigning in the shop, please call Alyssa to schedule an appointment at (509) 850-0719 or e-mail her at shopthelilac@gmail.com.

STEAM Ahead: New After-School Activities

Starting this week, there’s a new after-school option for third and fourth graders in the neighborhood. It’s called STEAM Ahead and is hosted at a brand new facility called Discovery Junction located at 808 W Spofford. It will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30pm.

If you think the building looks like a house, well, that’s because it is. The Spokane Central Seventh Day Adventist Church here in Emerson-Garfield worked hard to renovate the historic Craftsman bungalow in order use it for outreach activities like this


STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math, which will be the key activity areas for this enrichment program. We’ve been told that some students from Garfield Elementary are already scheduled to take part in STEAM Ahead at the outset.

For more information on STEAM Ahead or Discovery Junction, e-mail steamaheadspokane@gmail.com or call (509) 328-8027.

Recap of the April 2016 E-G Neighborhood Council Meeting

This is a brief recap of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council (EGNC) meeting that took place on April 13, 2016.

Cindy Kinzer and Kyle Twohig from the City of Spokane spoke about the new sewer and combined stormwater overflow (CSO) tank location east of TJ Meenach Drive and north of Pettet Drive known as CSO I-03. Spokane is comprehensively updating its wastewater system in order to have less sewer waste in the rivers due to overflow. The Environmental Protection Agency would fine Spokane if these updates are not made. This project is in addition to CSO Basin 12 to the south (here is a map of the two).

Construction of the tank in our neighborhood will take roughly one year from beginning to end. Questions and concerns can be directed to Cindy at ckinzer@spokanecity.org or (509) 625-6397. See images below for more detail.

Representatives from the Spokane Public Library reported on the Future Study. The library is looking at changing the functionality of its facilities to meet our community needs over the next 20 years. Some buildings are in disrepair and outdated, and sustainability consultants have recommended improved technology, the addition of collaborative spaces, more engaging children’s areas, comfortable seating, group study rooms and branch expansions at Shadle and South Hill. The 2017 levy for libraries will cover existing operational costs. An additional bond will be needed for all further improvements that are needed to revitalize the library buildings.

Input on the Future Study is welcome at the upcoming community conversation at the Downtown Branch (906 W Main Ave) at 11am on Friday, May 6 or via e-mails to ideas@spokanelibrary.org.


Brianna Musser volunteered to take the reins of Concerts in the Park this year. To help fund this event, the neighborhood will submit a Neighborhood Budget application for a maximum of $500. Melody Dunn, who is working on this process on behalf of the Community Assembly, volunteered to assist with Emerson-Garfield’s application.

Executive elections were held to fill the positions of chair, vice chair, secretary, Community Assembly representative (including alternate) and Community Development representative. Tim Musser and Carlie Hoffman were elected as co-chairs of the EGNC. The vice chair position went to Karl Boldt, who will be supported by Tom Powell. The secretary position was divided into minutes (Stan Burke) and membership (Bryce Morrison). Jay Cousins was re-elected to serve as the Community Assembly rep; Tom Powell will serve as his alternate. Donna Emmingham will represent Community Development.

The Office of Neighborhood Services is holding Cleaning from the Corridor on Saturday, April 23. Volunteers from Emerson-Garfield are encouraged to participate in a show of neighborhood solidarity.

The start of North Monroe revitalization was recently an agenda item at a Public Works meeting. Groundbreaking will not take place until 2018, but planning is beginning now. A city-level stakeholder group is being organized. Business owners, residents and other officials will represent various groups. Interested members will soon be able to apply to be on this committee.

The Silver Auctions parking lot was deemed unsuitable for the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market. The Adult Education Center (2310 N Monroe) has instead graciously offered the market use of its lot. The market will be leaving its former location at Knox Presbyterian and moving there for the 2016 season.

Karl Boldt gave an update on the 8th annual Spring Cleanup, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 21 from 9:30am to 12pm at Faith Bible Church (600 W Cora). As usual, a postcard with all the necessary information will be mailed to all Emerson-Garfield residents a few weeks prior to the event.


Laura Schlangen reported on the Corbin Senior Activity Center. Plans are still being revised for the elevator. A tour is leaving for New York the end of April. The 7th annual Corbin Senior Activity Center Golf Scramble is Friday, June 24. The Tea in the Afternoon event ($15 in advance) is Friday, April 29.

Jay Cousins reported on the Community Assembly. There is a new Police Ombudsman for the City. The CA’s Budget Committee is allocating money to send a representative to a NUSA conference in May. The City is also looking at a new measure to help take care of sidewalks. CA training meetings are available for anyone interested in learning about the Community Assembly; the training for our district is on Wednesday, April 27 at 5:30pm in the West Central Community Center (1603 N Belt).

Barb Biles reported from the Land Use Committee on changes taking place within the committee itself. Barb is the new facilitator.

Carlie Hoffman reported on the Pedestrian Traffic and Transportation (PeTT) Committee, including their discussion of funding for sidewalk repairs within the city. One proposal was that the City take increased responsibility for the sidewalks as is common practice east of the Mississippi.

The neighborhood’s position on the Long-Term Rental Stakeholder Group remains open, and there is a particular need for renters to be represented. Anyone interested in representing Emerson-Garfield and renters should get in touch with the EGNC at info@emersongarfield.org.

Paul Kimball spoke about the Emerson Community Garden. The future of the garden is uncertain, with the water supply being dependent upon two adjacent properties that are going to be for sale, but it will still be possible to use the garden this season. Anyone interested in farming/gardening the lot this season is encouraged to contact the Kimballs.

A representative from Parking Services is scheduled to speaking at the May EGNC meeting, as will a member of the Spokane Edible Tree Project.

City of Spokane Job Fair (April 14)

The City of Spokane will host a job fair tomorrow (Thursday, April 14) to provide citizens with the opportunity to learn how to start a career with their city government. It will run from 10am to 4pm in the Fieldhouse Building (1614 N Rebecca St).

Job Fair flyer 2016 updated

At the job fair, representatives from different City departments will be available to discuss the various careers within their departments. The City’s Civil Service Department will host information sessions for the public to learn more about the hiring process as well as a sample testing session. Public Safety Testing will also provide information for those interested in working for Spokane Police and Fire Departments.

For more information, citizens should contact Civil Service at (509) 625-6160 or civilservice@spokanecity.org. Current classified, non-classified, and temp/seasonal openings at the City of Spokane can be found on the City’s jobs page.