A pay-to-play sports complex that would ease overcrowding on public fields got the nod Thursday from Spokane County planning officials.
Rob Lewis, a partner in Sports World, said he hopes to begin construction this summer on the 32-acre complex along Harvard Road in the Spokane Valley.
A fitness center could be completed by fall and a sports bar and restaurant by spring, Lewis said. But the center’s four soccer fields and four softball diamonds probably won’t be done until the start of the 1977 softball season, said Lewis.
Thursday was the second time Sports World was considered by the county’s hearing examiner committee. The proposed site, between Interstate 90 and the Centennial Trail, is zoned for residential and industrial uses, not sports centers.
In March, hearing examiners split 1-1 on whether to approve the project. Committee member Harry Gibbons did not vote, citing his friendship with landowner Howard Herman as a possible conflict of interest.
County commissioners ordered the issue back to the committee, saying they didn’t think there was a conflict. Gibbons broke the tie Thursday.
“That’s a good transition,” between industrial and residential uses, Gibbons said. “There is lots of land out there and Harvard is becoming a major arterial.”
Committee chairwoman Brenda Bodenstein acknowledged the need for more sports fields in the Valley but said she worried Sports World would bring too much traffic to Harvard. The complex will be out of place if surrounding land is subdivided into residential lots, she said.
“If this goes in, it will have a major impact on the future tone of development,” she said.
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