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Spokane Sportsplex: your questions, answered

SPOKANE, Wash. - In just about a week, the Spokane City Council could clear the way for construction to begin on a $42 million indoor sports complex next to the arena. 

KXLY reported Monday city council members agreed to postpone voting on an interlocal agreement between the city, the city park board and the public facilities district until Monday. If approved, the agreement would set construction in motion for the proposed Spokane Sportsplex.

Monday's report sparked a lot of questions from KXLY viewers -- many wondering, why the city is still looking into a downtown sports hub without asking voters first. Dozens of you reached out to us by Twitter, Facebook and email, asking why this was still a discussion, even after November's vote on a replacement for Joe Albi Stadium.

On Election Day, voters weighed in on an advisory vote, telling the school board they wanted to keep the stadium where it's stood for all these years. And that's still happening. The school board listened to the voters and opted not to build a stadium downtown.

The Sportsplex, though, is completely separate from the stadium issue. The 180,000 square foot indoor facility will hold a 200-meter banked track with space for wrestling mats and basketball and volleyball courts on the north bank of the Spokane River, next to the Spokane Arena.

Many viewers were confused why they didn't see the Sportsplex on their ballot this election. That's because a public vote wasn't required, since the public facilities district is using money from an existing tax to pay for the complex -- it's not creating a new tax.

That brings up another question: who pays for the complex? Here's the answer:

  • Public facilities district CEO Stephanie Curran told KXLY the bulk of the funding comes from a sales tax rebate the PFD gets from the state, which is contributing $25 million.
  • The PFD will contribute $11 million from its reserve fund, made up of sales tax and other taxes that have already been paid.
  • The City of Spokane will contribute $5 million, if the interlocal agreement is approved Monday.
  • Finally, $2 million has been requested from the state capital budget.

Curran and Spokane Sports Commission president Eric Sawyer said the complex will increase local tax revenues by $2 million. Sawyer quoted an independent economic study which found the Sportsplex would bring in at least $30 million in economic impact.

If all goes according to plan, construction on the Sportsplex will begin this summer and the complex will be up and running in 2021.


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