Council Members Listen to Feedback on Central Location for City Hall and Highlight Investments in Downtown

Giacobbe Byrd, Legislative Assistant,

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 10:13 a.m.

Council President Breean Beggs, Council Member Betsy Wilkerson, and Council Member Lori Kinnear have listened to feedback they’ve received on the importance of keeping City Hall downtown and they are committed to the City’s continued investment in the downtown core.

“Council is responsible for stewardship of the City’s financial resources,” said Beggs. “The current City Hall is only occupied at 50% capacity on most workdays and may not be the most economically sustainable option, but it doesn’t change our commitment to support a vibrant Downtown Spokane. Washington’s Open Public Meetings Act requires that these preliminary conversations among Council Members happen publicly. Over the past few weeks, Council has clearly heard from many community members the value of a centrally located City Hall regardless of the specific building.”

The City is currently engaged in a space utilization study and has looked at several alternative building options Downtown and beyond, including the former Premera headquarters on East Sprague. During the conversations about the feasibility study, many members of the public have reached out to support keeping City Hall centrally located. 

“I do not think the Premera building will have the support needed to house City Hall,” said Wilkerson. “I heard the message that keeping City Hall downtown is important. I will keep this feedback in mind as I continue to assess the long-term sustainability of City facilities in my role as Council’s Finance Committee Chair.”

“In my seven years representing downtown, I have supported millions of dollars of investment,” said Kinnear. “Increased housing to complement existing and new businesses will be foundational to creating a vibrant, 24-hour hub downtown.”

The following is a non-comprehensive list of ways in which City Council Members have used their legislative authority to invest in and activate Downtown Spokane:

  • Council President Beggs and Council Members Wilkerson and Kinnear promoted and supported funding for the downtown precinct – the new location is more centrally located in the downtown core;
  • Council Members Wilkerson and Kinnear served on the Downtown Spokane Partnership board, and worked hard to make sure their Business Improvement District contract will allow for the resources needed to support growth, accessibility, and safety downtown;
  • Council President Beggs and Council Members Wilkerson and Kinnear supported downtown police officers by providing additional equipment, including 10 e-bikes and a Gator;
  • Council President Beggs and Council Members Wilkerson and Kinnear have invested time and City resources in alley activation projects downtown;
  • Council President Beggs and Council Member Kinnear insisted on a new and more thorough Downtown Plan update rather than an amended version proposed by City administration in 2019;
  • Council President Beggs and Council Members Wilkerson and Kinnear have funded Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) efforts downtown; and
  • Council President Beggs and Council Members Wilkerson and Kinnear continually meet with downtown business owners and stakeholders to identify opportunities for increased investment.

While the current City Hall building may not be financially sustainable in the long-term, if a decision is made to move City Hall, a full public process will occur in accordance with SMC 12.05.062, relating to the siting of essential City facilities.