Spokane Journal of Business

North Bank sportsplex research to move forward

PFD will inspect, test site across from park

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Research into a proposed $27 million sports field house is moving forward following an agreement giving the Spokane Public Facilities District the go-ahead to inspect the mostly city-owned property north of the Spokane River, near Riverfront Park, says Kevin Twohig, the district’s CEO. 

A letter of understanding signed in late March by Leroy Eadie, parks director for the city, and the PFD, which eventually would operate the sports complex, details the next steps for what is being called the Sportsplex.

Twohig says the agreement is a necessary part of the preliminary process for development of the site and will determine exactly where the facility could be located. It also gives the PFD 10 months to inspect, test, and survey the property. 

The 10-acre site where the Sportsplex is envisioned to be located, known as the North Bank site, is roughly one city block west of the former Broadview Dairy building and a block east of the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, says Eric Sawyer, CEO and president of the Spokane Sports Commission. The city will be asked to close a section of Cataldo Avenue between Howard and Washington streets to accommodate the facility, Sawyer says.  

The Sports Commission, a nonprofit coalition of regional government, business and volunteers who recruit and develop sports events here, would provide help to market and program the use of the Sportsplex.

Sawyer says the 93,000-square-foot facility, as proposed, would include a 200-meter, six-lane indoor track, up to 10 basketball and 17 volleyball courts, locker rooms, and a flexible multisport space as well as a championship court that could be converted to ice. He adds that the field house complex could host wrestling matches, soccer games, and indoor track meets, and would be affordable for local teams, something that isn’t available currently in Spokane.

“Everything is conceptual at this point, and the next phase will determine (what) can be included, along with many components to the Sportsplex,” Sawyer says. 

The Sportsplex would be different from the Spokane Arena, which is fundamentally designed for a fan experience, he says. 

“This facility would be designed for access by local and regional participatory sports programs to grow. It also would bring lots of people to Spokane,” he asserts. 

He says the Sportsplex would fit in well with what Spokane already offers, and the concept includes a North Bank entrance to Riverfront Park from the facility. 

The city of Spokane, City Parks, and PFD are expected to develop, and construct the facility, according to the recent agreement. The PFD would be responsible for managing the design, permitting, and construction at the site, as well as for maintaining and operating the facility. 

The Spokane Sports Commission would provide employees and resources to market, license and program the use of the facility, according to the letter of understanding. The Sportsplex also would be available for the city parks department to use.  

Options for funding include a ballot measure seeking a tax increase to pay for the facility, says Doug Chase, director of Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf. 

Chase says the county recently completed a countywide survey that identified a number of potential county park projects, along with the Sportsplex, to assess priorities for a possible future levy ballot to fund the projects. 

The county is evaluating the information and developing a prioritized list based on the public survey, he adds. 

Spokane-based ALSC Architects PS has completed the conceptual predesign on the project. 

PFD’s Twohig says there is still a lot more work to be done. 

“We have a long ways to go. But as long as there’s support for it, we’ll get it done,” Twohig says.

Judith  Spitzer
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Reporter Judith Spitzer covers technology, mining, agriculture, and wood products for the Journal. A vintage-obsessed antique collector in her off hours, Judith worked as a journalist in Colorado and Oregon before joining the Journal.

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