Last week the Spokane Parks Board unanimously supported the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which brings the proposed North Bank Sportsplex that much closer to reality. A recent economic impact study identified only five comparable facilities in the Western US and Canada, the two closest being in British Columbia and Southern California, positioning Spokane as ripe for opportunity.
Realization of the Sportsplex would allow downtown to continue to expand its growing market share in regional sporting events such as the recent Pacific Northwest Volleyball Qualifier (PNQ). The need for a well-managed, programmable, multi-functional indoor space was noted in a KHQ piece about the PNQ. Sports Commission CEO Eric Sawyer was quoted as saying, “We’ve got to find more facilities, and then we can actually have this grow, because there’s a waiting list for teams that have been trying to get into it. Almost 100 teams have tried to get into the tournament that we had to turn away.”
This project serves to amplify the outstanding work completed by the Park Board and Parks Department last fall in the recapitalization of Riverfront Park. The proposed Sportsplex provides a tremendous opportunity to introduce thousands of young people to Riverfront Park, the Spokane Falls, and downtown, placing visitors near and far at the doorstep of a spectacular urban experience.
A large sporting-facility of this magnitude, hosting dozens of events throughout the year, will not only increase the activation of Riverfront Park but also impacts related hotel stays, retail, and restaurant economics in our downtown core. A Gonzaga University study estimated the new facility would generate an additional $33 million annually in tourism spending.
This project was endorsed by the Downtown Spokane Partnership Board last November. The MOU, between Spokane Parks Board, the Public Facilities District, the Spots Commission and the City of Spokane outlines a financial and operational plan for completed facility. Next, the project is being considered by County Commissioners for an upcoming County Parks bond measure at a date to be decided.
You can find up-to-date information on the proposed facility here.