Spokane Journal of Business

New study calls for more ballparks at Liberty Lake

Sportsplex’s cost estimate balloons up to $28 million

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Based on higher than previously estimated demand and need, a recent feasibility study recommends adding four more ballfields to a proposed sports complex at Liberty Lake, increasing the project’s estimated cost by at least $10 million.

The proposed Liberty Lake complex originally was estimated to cost $16.7 million to $17.5 million. But a feasibility study recently conducted by Plano, Texas-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure International increased the proposed size of the complex and pushed the estimated project cost to $28 million.

The cities of Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley, the Central Valley School District, Spokane County, and the Spokane Sports Commission are still trying to determine the best way to fund such a sports complex.

The sports complex would be directly east of the 66,000-square-foot HUB Sports Center, which is located at 19619 E. Cataldo. The nonprofit operator of the HUB, which also uses the name HUB Sports Center, is conducting a separate capital campaign in an effort to purchase that facility. 

Of Sports & Leisure International’s feasibility study, Doug Chase, director of Spokane County Parks, Recreation, and Golf, says, “They full-on embraced the concept we outlined. Based on need and demand they concluded that there needs to be four additional fields added to the eight in our additional proposal.”

The study says such a sportsplex would be a regional draw for large-scale softball and baseball tournaments.

The sports complex in its first year could generate $2.8 million for local businesses, the study says. By the third year, those businesses could see an extra $6 million in revenue, it says.

The feasibility study calls for 12 ball fields, including four that would be full-size baseball fields and eight softball fields that could serve as youth baseball fields. All fields would have full synthetic turf, the study says. 

The proposed sports complex would have LED lighting, an equipment storage building, playground equipment, and miscellaneous site furnishings, says the 96-page study.

An estimated $10.7 million portion of the overall cost would cover the purchase of at least 48 acres of land, the study says.

In addition to construction of the sports complex, the feasibility study supports the idea of implementing $5.9 million in improvements to Plantes Ferry Sports Stadium Spokane Valley. That park now features 13 soccer fields and five softball fields.

The Plantes Ferry proposal would convert two grass soccer fields into synthetic turf fields with LED lighting, installing synthetic turf on the infields of all five softball fields, backstop improvements, permanent home run fencing and LED lighting for two fields, the feasibility study says.

Conventions, Sports, and Leisure says improvements at Plantes Ferry could also generate an additional $5 million to $6 million for area businesses, according to the study.

In March 2015, a countywide survey showed strong support for the Liberty Lake sports complex as well as a sportsplex in downtown Spokane. Among 1,500 respondents, only repairs to the Centennial Trail and enhancements to Plantes Ferry Sports Stadium received higher priority than the sportsplex, Chase says.

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