North Monroe Spokane

Popcorn Shrimp

The owner of Skippers on north Monroe is leading a rebellion. The city intends to expend about $7 million in streetscape beautification improvements on the street in front of his business and Gary Jarvis doesn’t want the investment, thank you very much.

As The Spokesman Review reported, Jarvis fervently made his case to the public by arguing, “’It’s ill conceived,’ Jarvis said of the ‘road diet’ plan. ‘It’s not going to bring business to the area … It’s just a yuppie thing.’”

Thus, we have ourselves three declarative statements against investing $7 million to beautify north Monroe.

  1. It’s ill conceived;
  2. It’s not going to bring business to the area; and
  3. It’s just a yuppie thing.

Let’s quickly explore how these arguments can be overcome with a proactive approach toward gaining support for the plan, which includes the following:

  • Don’t be afraid to challenge baseless assertions and speculation. For instance, based on the assertions above, what is a yuppie thing? How are yuppie things bad for business? How does Jarvis know that a $7 million streetscape beatification project in front of his business will not improve the street’s market environment? How is the plan ill conceived?
  • Communicate success of comparable projects. North Monroe is not the first street in the world to get beautification treatments. Show the results of similar projects both within the city and outside of it.
  • Be transparent. Provide all the information, background data, and documents neighborhood leaders and media outlets might need to gain a full understanding of the project.
  • Only consider suggestions that will improve the plan, not compromises that diminish it. So, you have a small but vocal group that’s opposed to change on north Monroe Street. Only adapt your plan to accommodate good ideas. Don’t get caught in the “compromise” trap.
  • Audubon/Downriver Neighborhood will take the money if north Monroe doesn’t want it. Northwest Boulevard could sure use a $7 million injection of public improvements. If Jarvis screws it up for north Monroe, my neighborhood will happily take the money, thank you very much.

Last summer a pregnant family friend felt an undeniable urge for ice cream after a nice dinner party at my home. We gentlemen, being the gentlemen that we are, accommodated her request and chauffeured our ladies to Baskin Robbin’s just off the corner of Northwest Boulevard and Monroe on a hot August evening.

Upon arrival, we gentlemen, perhaps feeling less gentlemanly, decided to leave the wives to their own devises and retire for a quick IPA across the street at the dive bar while the ladies enjoyed their cream filled waffle cones.

Thus, in August of 2016 three almost middle-aged white dudes – three Spokanites who enjoy good food and a nice drink from time to time – walked into an unknown bar on north Monroe, across the street from Baskin Robbin’s, expecting nothing more than a few stodgy old-timers and dollar Pabst Blue Ribbons.

Our ignorant expectations of what north Monroe is were shattered by the classy jazz band that was playing on the patio that evening. We then proceeded to order a few IPAs and discussed in conscious awe what we were witnessing, which was this: in a dive bar in a dive neighborhood on a dive street, we discovered just the opposite. We discovered hip (albeit almost middle-aged white guy hip).

Even on north Monroe, hip is happening. Since August, I’ve been back to the Prohibition Gastro Pub – located at 1914 N. Monroe Street – and enjoyed a nice meal and a drink, from time to time, and expended a few hundred dollars in the process. My friends and all of our wallets and handbags will be back soon enough, spending a bundle enjoying what north Monroe has to offer.

Imagine what $7 million in public improvements will do for the Gastro Pub, Skippers, and the entire neighborhood? I’m feeling excited about the future of north Monroe. Must be a yuppie thing.