Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Monday, February 28, 2022 at 5 p.m.
There’s not a lot of people who get something named after them.
Even fewer folks are still alive by the time they finally get honored.
However, Spokane’s Don Kardong, known as “The Father of Bloomsday”, is a rare exception.
“Yeah,I mean it was wonderful. First of all, just to see the bridge and see how it had been rebuilt over what used to be a railroad bridge, and it opened up the whole Centennial Trail. That part was great and it was a real honor to have my name put on it. There’s been a little pressure over the years, but it’s been great and I’ve used it a lot,” recalled Kardong.
But, Kardong’s namesake bridge, including its wooden deck, is showing signs of its age.
“So, we’re here to replace that and make sure we have a functional bridge for the citizens of Spokane and Centennial Trail users for the next 50 years. So, we’d like to get rid of all that wood, clean up all the steel, put in a nice, new, pre-cast concrete deck that lasts as long as concrete does, which is super robust,”explained Nick Hamad from the City of Spokane Parks & Rec Department.
“And, while we’re here, we’re going to put new rails on that will open up that connection to the river.We’ll add lighting so if you walk across at night, it will feel like a safe bridge,”added Hamad.
The 38-year-old pedestrian bridge is also getting upgrades to help make the span more ADA compliant.
“The overlooks now, are out of service and you have to walk down steps to get to them.Well, we want someone who is mobility impaired to have the same view as everybody else. So, we’re going to put new platforms on. One big one downstream,two small ones upstream, level with the deck, so you can get off the trail, take a look at the surrounding landscape, and the river, and enjoy yourself,” Hamad said of newly designed overlooks.
Funding for the renovation project comes from a variety of sources including the Spokane City Council, which allocated almost $ 1.5 million from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan.
“I think it’s great that they decided to allocate some of funds to help with the renovation of the bridge.It really needs a total renovation so, the fact they put some money into it is great,” exclaimed Kardong.
Construction bids go out later this spring with bridge renovations scheduled to be complete by early 2023.
And so, if Kardong is lucky, Spokane’s former Olympian will still be around to witness yet, another bridge dedication in his honor.
“Whenever there’s a section I can’t use, like when it’s under construction or renovation,I just can’t wait for it to be back. So yeah, I’ll look forward to the second ribbon cutting,” Kardong said with a smile.
Centennial Trail users will find signs that detour them around the Kardong Bridge once construction is underway.