Proposed Downtown Spokane Stadium Falls Short in Advisory Vote

Spokane Stadium rendering

In an advisory referendum on Tuesday, Spokane, WA voters favored Joe Albi Stadium over a downtown location as the site of a new stadium. 

Over the summer, officials debated the merits of a proposed downtown Spokane stadium on the north bank of the Spokane River. A downtown stadium proposal had been touted by Spokane mayor David Condon, with the plan calling for a 5,000-seat facility to be designed to host professional soccer, high school football, and other events while serving as a replacement for the existing Joe Albi Stadium in northwest Spokane.

After considerable discussion, officials decided in August to hold an advisory vote on Election Day, asking voters if the venue should be built at the current Joe Albi Stadium location or downtown. The results were ultimately in favor of the Joe Albi Stadium site, which garnered far more votes than the downtown location. Technically, the referendum results do not obligate the Spokane Public Schools board to construct the new stadium at the Joe Albi site, but the margin was decisively in favor of that location. More from the Spokesman-Review:

The tally was 65.2 percent in favor of the Albi site and 34.8 percent in favor of downtown.

“It’s unfortunate that the (downtown) stadium isn’t doing any better than it is,” said Mike Livingston, who led the efforts for a downtown stadium.

The vote isn’t binding on the Spokane Public Schools board, but it may be difficult to disregard such a one-sided vote….

The stadium issue was clouded by several questions in the run-up to the election.

The biggest was parking, though the district assured voters it would still be free for all high school events.

The stadium’s cost is slated at $31 million, part of a larger $495 million bond. Earlier this year, the downtown concept was linked to an effort to bring professional soccer to the city, as deepRoot Sports & Entertainment–an entity led by Howard Cornfield, a former general manager of the bygone San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)–showed interest in placing a professional soccer club there.

Rendering of proposed downtown Spokane stadium courtesy Trek Architecture. 

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