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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Richard Brooke: Relocate proposed Glenrose Sports Complex to more appropriate site

Richard Brooke

I’m responding to Mr. Geldien’s opinion letter from June 18, “SYSA committed to children, neighbors.” Nearly his entire letter is devoted to describing the worthy mission of the Spokane Youth Sports Association, and their determination that more sports facilities are needed to meet demand.

I believe most folks support the good work of SYSA, including my family who has benefited from it. What I don’t support is their eagerness to impose this particular project, with its industrial stadium lighting, approximately 400 parking spaces, along with an option to double the facility size from 20 to 40 acres, and hundreds more parking spaces, upon our rural residential community, or any rural residential community.

Glenrose is supported by a small number of very narrow country roads that struggle to handle the existing traffic. Glenrose lacks any infrastructure to support a major sports complex of this scope and scale. The imposition of a major facility like this (think multiple times larger than GU soccer fields) will often bring traffic to a standstill, and stifle reasonable, timely access to many of the over 1,500 residences in Glenrose.

On the surface it’s understandable why SYSA would be motivated to build at this location, since the site was gifted to them. However, a small amount of due diligence done up front would have revealed how inappropriate this location is for such a facility. Unfortunately, SYSA’s actions to date seem to be void of any consideration for all the unreasonable and outrageous burdens this complex would impose on the lives of the people and families that live in Glenrose. In addition, SYSA has demonstrated no concern for our abundant wildlife, beautiful night skies, water resources and other environmental issues, to name a few.

This is simply the wrong location for such a facility, and is not supported by the county code. Glenrose is zoned rural, and this type of sports complex, with its horrendous stadium lighting, in this location, would be unprecedented in all of Spokane County.

The county planning department and SYSA are attempting to jam this down our throats. Unfortunately, we seem to have a very malleable planning department, driven primarily by development interests, rather than representing the rights of all property owners. SYSA seems to be gladly going along for the ride, despite the incredibly adverse impact the project will have on the greater Glenrose community.

I think the willingness of SYSA to boldly attempt to impose this type of industrial scale sports complex on a very quiet and tranquil, entirely residential rural community is beyond the pale, and any reasonable measure of being a good neighbor. I ask greater Spokane residents, how would you like to have 80-foot-tall light poles parked next to your home, with industrial stadium lights shining down to bring daylight to your night sky? How would you like to suddenly confront daily gridlock descending upon your neighborhood streets, due to shortsighted and unreasonable planning?

The Glenrose Association and Community remain fiercely opposed to this proposed facility, which was first announced about 10 years ago by Spokane South Little League. Spokane South Little League eventually failed in its fundraising efforts and was forced to abandon the project. I believe their failure to raise the funds to build this private sports complex was due in part because the greater Spokane community recognized the location for the proposed facility was wholly inappropriate, and therefore shouldn’t be built.

This type of complex should be proposed in commercial or light industrial areas that possess proper infrastructure, and don’t impose unreasonable burdens on residential areas where people go home at night. I hope the Glenrose community still has the support of the greater Spokane community. Remember this type of precedent would have long-lasting ramifications for all of Spokane County if allowed to move forward.

The interests of SYSA, Glenrose, and the greater Spokane community would be better served if SYSA sold the land and reinvested the money in property that is properly zoned for this type of development.

Richard Brooke is vice president of the Glenrose Association.

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