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News >  K-12 education

Parking, revenue questions addressed in downtown stadium documents

May 3, 2021 Updated Mon., May 3, 2021 at 9:03 p.m.

The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street.  (JESSE TINSLEY)
The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street. (JESSE TINSLEY)

Two major issues related to the proposed downtown stadium – parking and the Spokane Civic Theatre – are addressed in detail in documents posted Monday on the Spokane Public Schools website.

Ahead of an expected vote by the school board Wednesday night, the school district outlined the details of a proposal approved last week by the Spokane Public Facilities District.

The PFD has agreed to provide “free and sufficient parking” for all district events, which will be supported by available parking slots (about 2,000) within the vicinity of the stadium.

Also part of the proposal is a promise for “collaborative planning to mitigate concurrent events.”

Presumably that means the PFD, the school district and the Spokane Civic Theatre would work together to minimize the number of “worst-case” scenarios in which all three venues are hosting events at the same time.

The document also includes language that the school district “receives sufficient parking, as many as the district deems necessary, at no charge for all district events.”

The Civic Theatre’s concerns were addressed in detail: that it would receive priority parking “near their facility for all scheduled events to the satisfaction of the Civic Theatre” and that the PFD and the theater agree “to coordinate on parking needs based on anticipated attendance (ticket sales) for performance nights and will receive sufficient parking slots in close proximity to their facility.”

The agreement also promises help in sound mitigation, as the new stadium would be next door.

It also expects help from stadium backers – the Downtown Spokane Partnership – and local legislators to “agree to assist the Civic Theatre in planning and promoting a capital fundraising campaign and/or securing state funding to make facility improvements that will mitigate any noise pollution caused by the stadium.”

The school district and the theater have held “productive meetings” in recent days, according to Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson.

Theater officials are expected to send a letter to the district by Wednesday regarding the new proposal.

The current proposal for a new downtown stadium was brought forward in early March by the Downtown Spokane Partnership. It asks that the school district spend $31 million in previously approved bond money to build a stadium downtown instead of at the site of Joe Albi Stadium, which is slated for demolition.

On April 21, the Spokane School Board voted 4-1 to pursue more favorable terms to build the stadium downtown.

The proposal also addresses equity concerns expressed by some board members.

Among the highlights are a promise by the PFD to provide training to all PFD staff on equity-related topics; ensure locally owned businesses of color are aware of contract services opportunities; and engage in local partnerships to promote work-force development and work-force diversity.

The agreement also promises that cost savings and revenue associated with the downtown stadium will be reinvested by Spokane Public Schools to support equity related initiatives and bolstering arts programs.

However, the document doesn’t stipulate what percentage of that savings and revenue would be reinvested.

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