What seemed a missed opportunity is now one step closer to becoming a reality. The Downtown Spokane Partnership announced on March 2, 2021, a comprehensive proposal for consideration by the Spokane Public Facilities District Board and the Board of Spokane Public Schools to locate the replacement for Joe Albi Stadium in downtown Spokane.
About the stadium:
The new 5,000-seat stadium will be home to Spokane Public Schools (SPS) football and soccer games and bring a new professional soccer team to Spokane via the United Soccer League (USL). The downtown stadium would also be available to host concerts, large-scale special events and other sporting events.
The stadium will reside on the North Bank of downtown, between Howard and Washington Street on Dean Avenue, just across from Spokane’s new indoor sports complex, The Podium.
What is the cost difference between building and operating a stadium at the current Albi site and the downtown site?
The SPS budget from the 2018 bond for the stadium project is $31 million, regardless of where it is located. However, if SPS continues its plan to build a new stadium at the current Joe Albi site, the school district will be responsible for all maintenance and operations costs, estimated at $350,000 per year ($17.5 million over the life of the stadium). If the stadium is built downtown, the SPFD will take over the stadium’s maintenance and operational costs, which would save the school district around $17.5 million over the 50-year life of the facility.
What are the economic impact differences between the two sites?
If built downtown, the stadium would generate an estimated economic impact of $11.4 million, versus an estimated $1.3 million if SPS built the new stadium at Joe Albi. By being located downtown, this stadium creates significant economic impact by drawing tourism, supporting our local businesses, and creating jobs. Maximizing the use of this public asset and attracting a professional soccer team only occur in a central urban location.
For more details, read the economic impact study here.
How does the public transportation commute time differ between the two sites?
The central location provides increased accessibility, particularly for students and their families, being right in the center of Spokane’s high schools for better proximity, as well as having access to bus routes and other public transit options.
What about parking?
In downtown roughly 1,700 parking spaces are managed by the PFD with an estimated 2,500 within walking distance. Parking at the Joe Albi site will remain free, however a portion of current parking will be consumed by the planned middle school. Dedicated paved parking at Joe Albi, when complete, is estimated to number 650 spaces.
This new proposal includes the stipulation that parking for High School football games, and any other Spokane Public Schools events held at the stadium would be free of charge to students and families.
What would happen to the current Joe Albi site if the new stadium is built downtown?
Preliminary discussions with the Spokane City Parks Director have taken place to develop the Joe Albi site into a multi-sport, multi-field complex. This new site would be used to support youth sport and activities while providing another asset for Spokane to attract sport tourism and business events.
How can I support this stadium?
To gain a better understanding of community sentiment about the new Downtown Stadium proposal, Spokane Public Schools is collecting input through March 31 via a short, online survey. Feedback on the survey will weigh heavily on the school board’s decision. We highly encourage you to take the survey and share how the downtown stadium would benefit our community before it’s too late.
Take the ThoughtExchange survey.
You can also show your support by sending a statement or letter outlining why you think a centralized downtown stadium would benefit students, families, and the entire Spokane Community.
Address correspondence to Spokane Public Schools: SchoolBoard@spokaneschools.org
For more information on the stadium, visit downtownspokanestadium.org.