County Commissioners approve $25 million for Sportsplex project
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane County Commissioners have approved $25 million in bonds to fund the proposed Spokane Sportsplex, an indoor, multi-sport facility that would be located just east of the Veteran’s Memorial Arena.
“It’s been a long journey we’ve been trying to figure out how to fund this for a long time,” said Stephanie Curran, CEO of the Spokane Public Facilities District.
The facilities district is providing $11 million of the estimated $42 million cost of construction. They’ll repay the county bonds over time by redirecting existing funds from a tourism and sales tax.
$5 million comes from the City of Spokane, and $2 million has been requested from the state capital budget.
The Sportsplex still needs approval from a project review committee in Olympia at which point, if deemed viable, the agencies planning the project could begin the design process. Curran said she’s confident the project will receive that approval.
Among the suggested features of the facility, per its website, are an NHL-sized ice sheet and an indoor hydraulic banked track- the only one of its kind, Curran says, on “this side of the Mississippi.”
“The foundation of why we’re doing this started with trying to come up with an answer to grow the Sports movement in Spokane in a way that is unique… maybe nationwide,” said Eric Sawyer, CEO of the Spokane Sports Commission.
Sawyer says the Sportsplex would allow current events, like the Pacific Northwest Volleyball Qualifiers and, possibly, Hoopfest, to expand while also enticing new events to select the Lilac City as their host.
“There’s probably over 200 plus events out there that we can’t currently host with the venues that we have,” Sawyer said.
New teams and new events mean a surge for the local economy at times it might be needed- Sawyer says the indoor facility would allow for more sports to visit Spokane in the winter which, he says, can be an off-season.
“It’s going to translate into new dollars that we can’t currently bring in that’ll eventually work its way down into the economy and help pay to fill a pothole in front of our houses,” he said.
Sawyer said local sports programs will get a chance to utilize the facility, giving them the opportunity to expand.
Curran and Sawyer say they hope to break ground on the project next year.
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