SPS to seek public comment for downtown stadium proposal

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Public Schools board wants to hear from you, again, before deciding whether or not to support a downtown sports stadium.

Voters thought they made their voices heard several years ago. In 2018, an advisory vote was held about a downtown stadium. 64% of the voters said to leave it at the Joe Albi location. This time around, the Downtown Spokane Partnership says it has new incentives to sweeten the deal.

“We feel confident that the details and the benefits of this proposal are absolutely in the best interest of the district and your families, or we wouldn’t be here,” said Mark Richard, President of the Downtown Spokane Partnership. “This proposal has changed. It’s improved since the voters weighed in, and it contains benefits that were not only — they just weren’t apart of the previous proposal.”

The 5,000-seat stadium would be built on Boone Avenue near the Spokane Arena and the Podium, an upcoming sportsplex. It would bring in millions to the economy and a professional soccer team.

However, the $31 million bond intended for a stadium at the Joe Albi location would go to the downtown stadium. The SPS board wants to hear from you before deciding.

“I’m not opposed to more community input,” said Nikki Lockwood, a board member.

Others were in agreement on Wednesday night during a special board meeting. There are several options to go about hearing from the public, according to assistant superintended Dr. Mark Anderson.

“We can hold a couple forums, public forums and allow folks to testify to you,” he explained. “We could do that next week.”

Another option is an advisory vote, which is what happened in 2018, when the same idea was brought up.

Anderson said the advisory vote would cost about $100,000 and it wouldn’t be on a ballot until August. He said this would delay the reconstruction at Joe Albi, the original plan. That’s slated to start in April.

One board member is a little cautious about the idea of another advisory vote.

“Personally, I don’t know how I would feel about another advisory vote,” said Jerrall Haynes, SPS Board President “I think the eight of us were elected to lead off of the best information that we have available, including community input.”

At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Adam Swinyard suggested to put together some public testimony dates, which would be announced in it’s Friday delivery.

The dates are not scheduled, but Anderson suggested that it could be done next Tuesday and Wednesday.

“So options would be to get some quick response in the next week with opportunity with both in writing and public testimony,” Anderson said. “Or the longer view would be to wait until August or stay this current course [continue with reconstruction.]

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