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Spokane City Council approved $5 million for the Sportsplex. What's next?

The Sportsplex is an arena project spearheaded by the Public Facilities District. It's now completely separate from Joe Albi Stadium.

Spokane City Council approved $5 million for the Sportsplex on Monday. 

That's an arena project spearheaded by the Public Facilities District. It's now completely separate from the Joe Albi Stadium story we covered for months.

But the two projects did briefly intertwine, which has led to a lot of confusion.

Here are some of the facts you need to know.

What is the Sportsplex?

It's a multi-sport indoor venue, currently in the design stages.

It's meant to hold large tournaments, mostly for youth sports. It will not house football. Some of the sports it will be able to host are basketball, volleyball, track and field, wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting, fencing, and roller derby.

To facilitate these big events, the complex will be designed to maximize playing space and will have relatively few seats for spectators.

When is the Sportsplex opening?

Now that the city has approved its share of the funding, the plan is to break ground this summer.

If construction goes smoothly, the Sportsplex could open in early 2021.

Why the Sportsplex?

This is a project that's been in the works for years, advocated largely by the non-profit Spokane Sports Commission.

They've argued the Sportsplex will generate business in Spokane, strengthen the sporting culture and provide an important new space for local athletes to hold big events.

Who is in charge of the Sportsplex?

The Spokane Public Facilities District is in charge of the project. 

It is a government body in charge of many of Spokane County's major facilities, like the arena and the convention center.

The PFD is working together with a number of other organizations, like the Spokane Sports Commission, the City of Spokane, and the parks department, to put the project together.

How is the Sportsplex funded? 

There are four sources of funding for this project.

The bulk of the money – $25 million – is coming from a Washington state sales tax rebate.

The next largest source – $10 million – is from money the PFD already has in its reserves.

Then, the $5 million approved by the Spokane City Council.

Finally, an additional $2 million is being requested from the state budget for some design add-ons.

This means no new taxes are being created to pay for the project, which is why there was never any public vote. 

What does any of this have to do with Joe Albi Stadium?

This project doesn't have anything to do with Joe Albi Stadium, anymore.

For a while, the PFD and the school board were considering modifying the designs of the Sportsplex to accommodate high school football and serve as a possible replacement for Joe Albi.

But that's not happening. The school board voted to go with the suggestion overwhelmingly made by voters: Build the new stadium at the same site as the old one.

Now the original Sportsplex proposal is continuing as planned.

PREVIOUS: Spokane Co. approves bond to build Sportsplex downtown

PREVIOUS: Spokane Facilities District moves forward with plans for proposed Spokane Sportsplex

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