In a vote Monday, the Spokane City Council tabled a bond measure for a new downtown Spokane stadium that could have hosted professional soccer.
Spokane mayor David Condon had been floating a proposal for a new downtown stadium. The 5,000-seat facility would have hosted events such as high school football and be designed to professional soccer standards, with deepRoot Sports & Entertainment–an entity led by Howard Cornfield, a former general manager of the bygone San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)–having shown an interest in placing a club there.
Funding for the stadium project would have been included in a November bond measure referendum, and the city council has until next week to finalize its bond measure for the ballot. As it was, the council tabled the bond measure for the stadium by a 5-2 margin, believing that the proposed facility did not fit within the current concerns of residents. More from The Spokesman-Review:
The council voted 5 to 2 Monday afternoon to table a $31 million city bond measure, citing concerns for pitching the construction of a sports facility when residents are more concerned about property crime and public safety. The tax request had been hitched to two others from Spokane Public Schools and the libraries for about a half billion dollars to build new middle schools, renovate aging ones and overhaul the city’s library system.
The unexpected vote laid bare the competing interests of Mayor David Condon, who has lobbied for the downtown stadium as a signature attraction near Riverfront Park, and those of councilmembers who said they were responding to a public that had concerns stretching beyond the downtown core.
“It was a surprise to very senior staff at the city, and that’s unfortunate,” Condon said in an interview Monday night at City Hall. “It was a surprise to our partners, who were learning about it a half an hour ago.”
Condon said he wouldn’t advise his staff to lobby the council, which has until Aug. 7 to finalize its bond measure for the November ballot.
Had the downtown Spokane stadium been constructed, the existing Joe Albi Stadium in northwest Spokane would have been demolished to make way for new sports fields. With the downtown plan now off the table, however, Spokane Public Schools could seek to have funds for a renovation of that facility approved in its bond measure.
Image of USL action courtesy USL and Orange County SC.