2019 has been a great year for the entire Spokane region. From individual accomplishments to local sports to long-tenured completed projects, GSI wanted to take a minute to look back and appreciate all the good that has come out of our region this year.
In 2019 some regional projects finished while other exciting ones were announced. The Pavilion in downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park was finished in August and has made the night sky even more beautiful when driving by or visiting the park. It has also made numerous events, such as concerts and even yoga, possible to be held in downtown Spokane. More recently the Sportsplex project broke ground just last week. Liberty Lake announced a new bridge to be built across I-90 which will improve traffic flow between Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley. Liberty Lake also broke ground on Ridgeline High School in August and that is expected to be open by the Fall of 2020. There have been lots of exciting projects finishing up, and an equally exciting list of projects that have been announced in 2019.
The year for local sports started out strong in January as Eastern Washington University’s football team was the national runner up. Our region’s prowess was also on display as Mt. Spokane High School won the 3A state championship in wrestling, Gonzaga Preparatory School men’s basketball team captured its second straight state championship in early March. Later that month, Gonzaga University men’s basketball made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament and the women’s team captured their highest seed to date at #5. The women’s soccer team from Washington State University just finished their historic run all the way to the College Cup Semi-Finals in early December. Last month, Spokane received news that the Spokane Shock will be coming back in 2020. On the individual level, Shadle Park High School alum and local MMA stand-out Michael Chiesa went 2-0 in his 2019 UFC bouts. Don’t forget about September when we had seven students from local universities make an NFL roster in their rookie year. We consider that a great year for local sports!
2019 has also ushered in new regional leadership, including at GSI, where we promoted Alisha Benson to the CEO role, who has been and will continue to be one of the great leaders in this region. Visit Spokane also hired a new leader earlier this year as Meg Winchester took over as CEO. They will both continue to grow the Spokane region economically as we continue our rise to the top. This past year at GSI we have also been focused on turning our .09 campaign into reality which retains .09 percent sales and use tax dollars in the County to use for economic development purposes. We are also still pushing for legislation to add Washington State to the Nurse Licensure Compact, providing the opportunity for nurses in participating states to practice in all compact states under multi-state privileges authorized by the nurse’s state of residence.
It really has been a great year for our entire region with countless more good things happening and getting planned. So much so that Spokane was just recently ranked 31st on INC Magazine’s top cities to start a business, a list that includes consideration from all U.S. cities. This goes to show that other people are starting to see what we’ve already known for years and years: the Spokane region is one of the best places to be in America.
Our region’s 2019 was great, and we will continue to strive for an even better 2020. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.