Downtown Spokane Stadium Discussions Could be Revived

Toronto FC II

Despite a city council vote Monday to table a bond measure for the project, discussions of a proposed downtown Spokane stadium referendum could be revived. 

Spokane mayor David Condon had been floating a proposal for a new downtown stadium, to be located near Spokane Arena. The 5,000-seat facility would have hosted multiple types of events 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 project would have been included in a November bond measure referendum, but that idea seemingly suffered a setback Monday, when the Spokane City Council voted 5-2 to table the measure. However, councilwoman Lori Kinnear has indicated that she is pushing for fellow city council members to reconsider that decision, contending that the public should have more of a say on the issue. The city has until Tuesday to submit referendum language for the November ballot to the Spokane County auditor, so it would have to bring the stadium issue back up for discussion within a fairly short time period. More from The Spokesman-Review:

“I don’t feel that people have had a chance to express themselves,” Kinnear said. “The public, I feel that they were shortchanged in this.”

A split Spokane City Council voted 5 to 2 on Monday to indefinitely table a request to ask taxpayers to fund the additional $10 million required to build the stadium downtown. That was part of a $31 million bond measure that was intended to supplement larger requests from Spokane Public Schools and the libraries to build new middle schools and overhaul the city’s library system. A majority of council members said they couldn’t request more of the taxpayers to pay for a parking garage when there were other concerns in the community, including public safety….

“We haven’t really heard from the public, everything’s been too rushed,” Kinnear said.

The City Council will be able to take testimony at the meeting Wednesday, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Centennial Ballrooms 300 C/D at the Spokane Convention Center. It can’t take action on reconsidering its vote to shelve the stadium because it hasn’t been posted to the public. However, Kinnear said there’s still the option of calling a special meeting before Tuesday if lawmakers are swayed by public testimony.

In addition to professional soccer, the stadium could host high school football and other events.

Image of USL action courtesy Toronto FC II.

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