The Spokane Park Board will ask for more information before considering the King Cole statue
Sept. 11 – The Spokane Park Board paused Thursday on future plans to honor King Cole at Riverfront Park and asked a committee of volunteers for more details on possible memorials for the civic booster, who will serve as the “father” of the Expo ‘ 74 applies.
At its monthly virtual meeting, the panel did not pass on a single item on a list of five possible commemorative actions, including the renaming of Howard Street Promenade the King Cole Way and artwork to honor Cole. The inaction means another committee of civic groups, including elected officials, former park officials, and others, must return to the board with more concrete ideas.
“That’s how this process often works,” said Park Board President Jennifer Ogden on Friday. Ogden requested approval for the five features, including a statue of the late Cole. “We’re sending it back to the committee so they can dig a little deeper. This process jumps back and forth.”
Park board members said Thursday they were concerned that the statute and a proposed “frieze,” a type of horizontal sculpture, could be duplicated.
“I was surprised at the number of projects that resulted,” said Kevin Brownlee, a member of the park’s board of directors, after going through the list of proposed properties. “It almost feels like we’re rebuilding the Spokane Pavilion for more than just recognizing King Cole.”
They also wanted more information about what a statue of the man would look like and where it would go before deciding whether it was appropriate to raise funds for the project.
“I think it’s a bit dangerous to ask for money for things that we didn’t approve as possible things,” said Nick Sumner, a member of the park’s board of directors. He said it appeared Thursday’s vote would “put the cart in front of the horse a little”.
Hal McGlathery, the former Riverfront Park manager who has been clamoring for a Cole statue, said Thursday’s meeting was frustrating but the work will continue to refine art ideas to honor him.
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“We have a red light from the park board at this point,” said McGlathery.
However, Ogden said that light may not last and that before age 50.
“We have two years and nine months. We have time,” she said. “We want to get it right.”