Woodward voices support of downtown stadium proposal

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward has expressed her support of the proposal for a downtown sports stadium.

“After respectfully considering the many decisions that go into making a decision like this, supporting the downtown location makes the most community, access and financial sense,” Woodward said in a YouTube video.

In the video released Tuesday night, Woodward said she considered the options and believes the school board should direct the $31 million in already-approved funds toward the downtown site, rather than try to rebuild Joe Albi stadium at its current location in northwest Spokane.

Voters shot down the idea of a new stadium downtown a few years ago, instead voting to put funds toward the Joe Albi rebuild. However, a recent survey conducted by the SPS board showed overwhelming support this time around. Those who said they were opposed to the plan expressed concern that the district was ignoring the previous advisory vote.

The new proposal was put forward by the Downtown Spokane Partnership, but guarantees Spokane Public Schools free use of the venue, including free parking for all school events if they enter into the partnership. DSP has expressed intent to bring a United Soccer League team to the area, but the stadium would be also home to SPS football and soccer games.

DSP brought the proposal forward just as demolition began at Joe Albi. DSP said the proposal would save SPS roughly $17.5 million in maintenance and operations by entering into the partnership for the new stadium, which would be operated by the Public Facilities District.

RELATED: Spokane Schools survey showed overwhelming support for downtown stadium

The Spokane Public School Board could make the decision on the stadium proposal as soon as Wednesday. They have planned to meet for a virtual special session starting at 6 p.m.

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