Spokane Public School Board to discuss downtown stadium proposal Wednesday

SPOKANE, Wash. — Soon, the proposed downtown stadium could get the next push it needs to be a reality. The Spokane Public School Board will discuss the stadium proposal and possibly make a decision Wednesday night.

This comes after nearly two months of people expressing their desires to bring it downtown, and drawing lots of opposition, too.

The discussion tonight will be the first time we actually hear thoughts from board members about bringing the stadium downtown, or for building at the current Joe Albi site.

In the last month, the board has been gathering opinions and figuring out what to do on this controversial proposed stadium.

It’s been a topic of debate since March, when a proposal from the Downtown Spokane Partnership upended the school district’s plan to build a new stadium at the old Joe Albi site.

The proposal says a downtown stadium could save the school district roughly $17.5 million in maintenance and operations, and would bring a professional soccer team to the area, as well.

But some people raised immediate concerns about parking and about the nearby Civic Theatre.

That’s what Henry McNulty cares about — he used to be the music director there.

“The issue will include the increased traffic, the difficulty parking as well as noise pollution from an open air stadium,” said McNulty.

He felt this proposal and tonight’s possible decision all happened a little too quickly.

“I also think that having it happen right near the tail end of a global pandemic, without giving the public an adequate opportunity to respond and give their feedback, is a bit of an underhanded way to push the project forward,” said McNulty.

The district did reach out for public comment through a ThoughtExchange online survey and held two public meetings.

Both showed overwhelming support for the downtown location.

Today, new support from both Mayor Nadine Woodward and state representative Marcus Riccelli backed the proposal even further.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Woodward voices support of downtown stadium proposal

“After respectfully considering the many perspectives and considerations that go into making a decision like this, supporting the downtown location makes the most community, access and financial sense,” said Mayor Nadine Woodward.

As for the Civic Theatre, Rep. Riccelli tweeted this:

Riccelli said he’s committed to working in a bi-partisan fashion with local delegation to help find funding opportunities in Olympia to help offset costs of soundproofing the Civic Theatre.

Now, the future of the stadium lies with the Spokane Public Schools Board. The meeting begins at 6 p.m., and a vote may or may not happen tonight.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Spokane Schools survey showed overwhelming support for downtown stadium

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Spokane Civic Theatre expresses concerns over proposed downtown stadium