Downtown Spokane stadium gains more support

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) and United Soccer League (USL) are moving forward with plans to bring a new stadium to the area.

On Wednesday, that project took a step forward on the path to becoming reality. The Spokane Public Facilities District Board voted to support the project concept, on the condition it would be subject to more in-depth negotiations with the USL and Spokane Public Schools.

“Is this the best location for high school athletics and their families?” asked Spokane Sports CEO Eric Sawyer. “In many cases we can all agree it is the best location for them.”

Sawyer supports bringing the stadium to the downtown area and was in attendance for the initial unveiling. He said the benefits of adding a professional soccer team, high school sports venue and a concert venue could go beyond the confines of the facility.

“The more people we can bring into the community, it adds to the tax base,” he added.

Events like Hoopfest provide massive tourism to the city each year. With the construction of The Podium happening right now, which will host the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships next year, it adds to putting Spokane on the national stage.

“This project has an opportunity to be part of our region’s recovery, but also our growth, and I think that’s critical,” said DSP President Mark Richard. “Not just helping us out, but helping us to move forward.”

However, for this 5,000 seat, $30-million stadium to begin construction, it needs the help of Spokane Public Schools and their funding for a new stadium project.

They said in a statement: “Spokane Public Schools has been moving forward to implement the plan to build a new stadium at Joe Albi. It has been consistently stated that planning would move forward, and that any group in the community is welcome to share ideas about the concept of a downtown stadium if new details or information becomes available.”

Richard said the next step in the proposal is to present to the Spokane Public Schools board this month. SPS said they will be considering to invite the DSP and USL to present when they gather Thursday.