Another theme one might have noticed over the past eight years in Spokane has been the many projects that had long been delayed or slowed down taking significant steps forward. This can be seen with the upgrades to Riverfront Park, the extensive street improvements throughout the City and the connection of the revitalized East Sprague corridor to the booming University District.
Not to be overlooked, however, is the progress toward making the Spokane Sportsplex a reality. Soon, there will be a 180,000-square-foot facility on the north bank of the Spokane River that can host basketball, volleyball, martial arts, wrestling, track and field, ice skating, hockey and a number of other competitions that will attract visitors to Spokane. It seems a natural fit for a city that already has a strong track record of supporting athletic events.
Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) CEO Stephanie Curran says a project of this scale required an unprecedented amount of cooperation to get off the ground. The Mayor’s Administration and City Council pledged $5 million to the project, which is also funded through a state sales tax rebate, existing PFD funds and other sources. The PFD also tapped the Spokane Sports Commission to market and book events, while Spokane Parks and Recreation stepped up to provide the public land in downtown Spokane to house the facility.
“I feel strongly that we will serve as a model to other cities on how multiple public entities can partner together for the greater good of the community,” says Curran.
A Gonzaga study said the Sportsplex — set to break ground this November and open in 2021 — could bring as much as $33 million in tourism spending per year, generating $1.7 million in tax revenue to the City from out-of-town visitors who patronize the businesses, hotels and services.
“In addition to the revenue-generating events, we will also be able to host sports leagues programmed by Spokane Parks and Recreation,” says Curran.