Prioritizing keeps you focused. It also keeps businesses, organizations and communities focused. That’s precisely why the business community here in the Spokane region has prioritized its key projects (in no particular order):
- Academic Health Science Center
- University District
- North Spokane Corridor
- Fairchild Air Force Base and New Tankers
- Port District
We’re helping lead the charge on all of the projects. Let’s take a look at some of the particulars on each.
1. Academic Health Science Center (AHSC): There are a number of goals here. First, we’ll add the second year of medical studies at WWAMI Spokane (currently, years one, three and four are in Spokane and year two is in Seattle). The goal is to have all four years of medical education in Spokane starting in the fall of 2013. Second, we’re working on increasing the number of students admitted to the WWAMI medical school in Spokane. Finally, we’re working on expanding graduate medical education by increasing the amount of residency slots in Eastern Washington. Expanding medical education will lead to new biomedical research and the biggest economic impact this region has ever seen.
2. University District: Separate from the AHSC – but very much related – is our growing University District. We’ve supported funding for transportation and infrastructure projects – such as Martin Luther King Jr. Way and the Division Street Gateway and pedestrian bridge. A growing urban campus is good for Spokane with new research and business opportunities, as well as retail and housing.
3. North Spokane Corridor: We’re partnering with Associated General Contractors and Spokane Area Good Roads Association to advocate for the completion of a project many years in the making. When complete, the North Spokane Corridor will connect Interstate 90 with the north side of Spokane, and connect to Highway 2 and Highway 395, making it easier for freight transportation as well as people to move north and south. Advocacy efforts are ongoing at both the state and federal level. Currently, there is a drivable portion from Francis to Farwell road, with the Highway 2 onramp opening Nov. 16.
4. Fairchild Air Force Base and New Tankers: Our region’s largest employer is incredibly important. Currently, we’re working on making Fairchild the first home of the new KC-46A tankers. We also advocate for federal military construction (MILCON) funding to modernize operations and support facilities. Recently, we successfully advocated for two MILCON projects for Fairchild – a new headquarters building and a Phase II building for the survival school.
5. Port District: This new priority is not a new idea. A Port District has been discussed and voted on in the past, and a Port of Spokane County could make way for important economic development. We’re currently forming a task force of business, organization and local government members who would guide the research phase. We’ll also work closely with the Washington Public Ports Association and study what other communities have done in successfully creating a port district.
These are the high-level, long-term priorities the GSI Board of Trustees is focused on. We still drive initiatives – like STEM Education – and advocate for business-friendly policies – like workers compensation reform. We still connect businesses of all sizes to one another – through our 80+ events each year – and help grow jobs and business investment by our business recruitment efforts.
Keep an eye on the above priorities in the community as we move along. Great things are coming to the Spokane region!