Some Parents, Business Owners Urge School District To Rebuild Joe Albi Stadium Downtown
During a school district public forum on the location of a planned stadium, many parents and business owners said they were open to a downtown location.
Spokane Public Schools planned to start construction on a stadium at the Joe Albi site next month, but reconsidered the plan after a proposal from a professional soccer league and hospitality group. The Joe Albi site was initially chosen after a 2018 advisory vote showed that’s where most Spokane residents wanted it. Many who called in to the forum however said they weren’t able to vote, or were confused about what they were voting on.
Daniel Jones said his children will be going to Ferris Highschool, but he was not able to vote because he lives in a gray area, outside the city but inside the district’s boundaries.
“We have to look at that and see how many people were limited in participating in that advisory vote, and secondly how confusing that advisory vote was as a whole to the community,” Jones said.
Others said they supported the downtown location, but said they still had concerns about whether the United Soccer League is really committed to staying in Spokane. Some also had concerns about whether the project could impact surrounding properties, such as the Spokane civic Theatre.
Stacy Ward, the Athletics Coordinator for Rogers High School was one of a few school staff members who weighed in. She said Spokane Public Schools would need to work out a solid agreement with the soccer league to keep control of the stadium, but said overall, she supports it.
“In terms of equity for all kids and families, a centrally located downtown stadium is a much better deal for more people than to have a stadium that’s located in a far corner in Spokane,” Ward said. “That’s very difficult to get to by public transit. We have lots of kids that would like to go to games, but it’s very hard to get to Albi.”
Most who called into the public forum Tuesday voiced full, or conditional support for the downtown stadium.
Once both public hearings are completed and the survey closes, the School Board will make a decision. They’ll choose whether the stadium should be built on its current site, or if they will partner with United Soccer League and build it downtown.