Spokane Journal of Business

New nonprofit pitches Valley sports complex

Sports USA hopes to build $8 million-to-$10 million center in next few years

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Spokane businessman Kert Carlson has formed a nonprofit corporation named Sports USA through which he hopes to develop and operate an $8 million-to-$10 million sports complex in the Spokane Valley.

The project is in the predesign stage, and the 501(c)3 nonprofit currently is looking at two potential 20-acre sitesone near the Trent Avenue-Pines Road intersection in the Spokane Valley and one near Liberty Lakefor the complex. Sports USA hopes to secure one of those sites next month, says Carlson, who also is president of Stadium Sports Inc., a silk-screen and embroidery company that specializes in sports apparel.

Carlson says Sports USA so far has raised only a fraction of the money it needs to start construction of the planned complex and will be launching a major fund-raising push this spring. It needs to raise about $2 million before it can break ground on the project and hopes to have that money within a year, he says.

In addition, the nonprofit is seeking grant funds and would take out a loan for part of the cost of the project. If its fund raising is successful, work on the project could start in the spring of 2002, and it could be completed by the summer of 2003, he says.

As currently envisioned, the Sports USA complex would include a 121,000-square-foot building with five indoor courts. Those courts typically would be used for basketball or volleyball but could accommodate a variety of uses, from wrestling to cheerleading competitions. A center court would include spectator seating that could accommodate up to about 3,000 people, and each of the four other courts would have bleachers with 1,000-person seating capacity.

Preliminary plans also call for some locker rooms, classrooms, and meeting rooms, as well as concession stands and office space.

Outside the complex, Carlson envisions building four volleyball courts, a football field, and a lacrosse field.

ALSC Architects Inc., of Spokane, is doing the predesign work on the project and is expected to design it.

Carlson says youth sports groups likely would rent out the space most of the time for practices, games, and clinics, and several such organizations have written letters in support of the project.

The demand is overwhelming, he says, adding that many youth sports groups must hold practices either early in the morning or late at night because courts already are filled at more convenient times.

Linn  Parish
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Editor Linn Parish has worked for newspapers and magazines since 1996, with the bulk of that time being at the Journal. A Montana boy who has called Spokane home for some time now, Linn likes Northwest trails, Deep South foods, and lead changes in the ninth inning.

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