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Spokane Mayor Woodward makes video endorsement for downtown stadium

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said in part that "supporting the downtown location makes the most community, access and financial sense.”
Credit: KREM

SPOKANE, Wash. — In a video posted on Tuesday, Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward endorsed the proposal to build a stadium downtown.

The Spokane Public Schools (SPS) board currently plans to replace Joe Albi Stadium at its current site in Northwest Spokane after voters overwhelmingly elected in 2018 to keep it there rather than move it downtown near the Spokane Arena. The Downtown Spokane Partnership and United Soccer League are instead proposing a 5,000-seat stadium that would be home to SPS football and soccer games and bring a new professional soccer team to the city.

The Spokane Public Facilities District has already agreed to key portions of the proposal. Woodward is also joining others who have already endorsed the proposal, including the Spokane Sports Commission and Visit Spokane. 

On April 15, the SPS board heard a presentation on the results of a survey commissioned to gather public input but members did not weigh in themselves. The board is scheduled to discuss the issue at its meeting on Thursday, April 21, but whether members will take action or vote is unclear.

“Spokane Public Schools has a decision to make that will influence the next 30 years of its operation and shape our community in the process," Woodward said in her video endorsement ahead of the meeting. 

The downtown stadium location would also offer "budget flexibility for years to come," Woodward said in her endorsement," and create "more equitable access to students it serves through athletics and extracurricular activities." She added that the downtown stadium partnership would maximize its use in a central location.

“After respectfully considering the many perspectives and considerations that go into making a decision like this, supporting the downtown location makes the most community, access and financial sense.”

More than 5,000 of the 7,700 people who participated in downtown stadium survey expressed support for the proposal. Many people said they liked a more central location due to its ability to improve access and potentially boost the economy.

Thousands of people still remained wary of the new proposal or firmly opposed. The most common concerns expressed included the effect traffic and noise from the stadium could have on the nearby Spokane Civic Theater, general questions about parking, and the fact that a 2018 advisory vote within Spokane city limits — which omitted thousands of people who live inside the district but outside city limits —  showed overwhelming preference for building the new stadium at the current Joe Albi site.