The entity that owns and operates the Spokane Arena has thrown its support behind a proposal to build the new Joe Albi stadium downtown. And the entity that's building that stadium will entertain the idea.
On Tuesday, a group of business and hospitality leaders as well as a professional soccer league renewed their request to have the replacement for Joe Albi built downtown. They argue their newest proposal will save voters money by having the Spokane Public Facilities District cover maintenance and operations costs.
Stephanie Curran, the district's CEO, agrees.
“Right now, they would build the stadium, own it and operate it and they would have all the maintenance and operation costs that go with it every year,” she said. “If they built it and the PFD owned and operated it, then we would absorb those costs.”
She says the Public Facilities District would be able to operate a new stadium for less money than the school district, because of the crews it has already hired to run its other properties. She says her board still has some questions about the logistics of a new building, but is comfortable waiting for more information until the school board weighs in.
“The next step would be the school district deciding If they also supported it,” Curran said. “If they did, then we would all get together and sort of hammer out the details.”
The Spokane School Board shot down a downtown stadium proposal two years ago citing an advisory vote where 64% of Spokane voters says they didn’t want the stadium downtown. On Wednesday night School Board President Jerrall Haynes said he was open to hearing the proposal.
“We as a school board and a school district have been moving forward with a plan to implement the plan to build new stadium at Joe Albi.,” Haynes said. “It has been consistently been stated that our plan is continuing on schedule and that any group in the community is welcome to share ideas about the concept of a new downtown stadium if new ideas or information becomes available. Based on my understanding, from the formal request and media reports, it appears that new details do in fact in exist.”
The proposal will be before the school board next week.
The downtown stadium would be on the north bank of the Spokane River near the Spokane Arena and the new Podium sports complex. It would house 5,000 fans and be a potential site for a new professional soccer team.