Spokane’s Best Neighborhoods –
Hipster Rating (out of 10): 4
Predominant Housing Prices:
Ownership: About $325,000
Rentals: About $1,200
Housing Density: Low, mostly single family
Mixed Use Rating: Fair with walkable access to strip malls on Division Street
Corbin Park Neighborhood Description
Many characterize the Corbin Park Neighborhood as an island surrounded by a sea of inner city decay. In this writer’s opinion, such statements are exaggerated. Located on Spokane’s north side, at the foot of the North Hill – an incline that separates the uppers reaches of the north side from the lower reaches nearer to downtown – most of Corbin’s surrounding neighborhoods have elements of blight but there is also reinvestment occurring.
Unto itself, the Corbin Park neighborhood is an excellent reflection of Spokane’s best neighborhoods. Anchored by Corbin Park itself, the neighborhood is one of only two historic districts within Spokane. It’s an impressive neighborhood, every bit as good as those you’ll find on Spokane’s wealthier South Hill, but at price points more realistic for most budgets.
Elements that Create Great Neighborhoods
An Identifiable Center
The Corbin Park Neighborhood’s center is the park itself, which also happens to be the 10th best park on the list of Spokane’s Best Park’s.
Generally, the Corbin Park Neighborhood’s boundaries are fairly distinct. To the north is the North Hill, which is more of a steep, impassable bluff in this area. To the east is Division Street, one of Spokane’s busiest arterials. To the west is Post Street, which is a semi-busy arterial. To the south, the boundary is much more subtle and the tug-of-war between blight and responsible land owners ebbs and flows depending upon which direction you’re traveling.
A Front Door
There’s not really a front door into the Corbin Park Neighborhood. When one reaches the park, however, there is nice signage with neighborhood history and place names.
Mixed Land Uses
There’s Corbin Park, and there are (mostly) single family homes. That is the extent of mixed land uses within the neighborhood.
Corbin is one of only two national historic districts within Spokane for good reason, its diverse architecture.
Structures that Address the Street
The Corbin Park Neighborhood does well toward this end. Large porches and ornate architectural details engage the passer by.
Streets that Generally Connect
Being one of Spokane’s earliest neighborhoods, Corbin was built on a grid street pattern. Therefore, all streets connect.
Detached sidewalks are located on every block within the neighborhood. I don’t know if hits 100% but it’s awfully close.
Uniform street trees are abundant in the Corbin Park Neighborhood.
Corbin’s walkability is perfect for a nice stroll, bike ride, or run. Aside from the park, however, the only other place to walk to is the commercial corridor of Division Street, which is one of Spokane’s busiest.
The Corbin Park Neighborhood has two big challenges and both will take significant effort to overcome. The first is developing an organized strategy that begins to spread the nearly flawless neighborhood characteristics of Corbin outward into the blocks surrounding it. Trimming back creeping blight will take a significant effort from City Hall and happens mostly on a home by home basis. The most traditional tool for this job is organizing a community development corporation (CDC) and allowing neighborhood citizens to hold the majority of board seats. The good news? Most of those old blighted homes have every bit the potential to stand on par with Corbin’s well-kept Victorians. It’s amazing how far a paint job, basic yard care, and a couple new street trees can go toward curing blight.
Corbin Neighborhood’s second big challenge is Division Street – a strip mall strewn traffic nightmare that forms Corbin’s eastern boundary. Developing strategies to mitigate traffic congestion that may short-cut through the neighborhood, and ensuring surface parking lots don’t creep into the boundary reaches of Corbin will take a proactive strategy from neighborhood residents.