Sports Complex Study: Large Indoor, Outdoor Facilities Favored
Results are in from Phase 1 of a feasibility study on a regional sports center for Chelan and Douglas counties.
The findings show a need for more outdoor sports fields as well as an indoor aquatic center and indoor sports facilities.
Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority Director of Economic Development & Capital Projects Stacie de Mestre says there's interest in locating all those facilities in one central complex.
"Initial conversations with the consultant stated that to get the most bang for the buck it should be consolidated," said de Mestre. "You can share restrooms, parking, just getting utilities to the sites, there'd be a savings if it was all in one location."
Phase Two of the study will determine what the regional sports center would look like, where it would be located and how it would be paid for.
de Mestre says it's not yet certain that all the facilities be bunched together. One challenge could be finding a site large enough to accommodate such a complex, which would require 40-50 acres.
The study shows there's a shortage of rectangular fields for sports such as soccer and football. Current fields are overused and poorly maintained.
In addition, the findings show there are sufficient baseball and softball fields, but they're located too far apart from each other.
The study shows a need for an indoor aquatic center for year-around use, which would avoid closures and alleviate concerns related to wildfire smoke.
The aquatic center would ideally have an Olympic size (50-meter pool) and leisure opportunities, (slides, lazy river, spray features, etc.). Currently, the only indoor 50-meter pool in the state is located in Federal Way.
There is also a need for all youth and adults to have access to swimming lessons.
In addition, the Phase 1 results showed a top community priority is an indoor sports facility with year-round opportunities for soccer, futsal, basketball, and volleyball.
The findings show an indoor facility is necessary to provide year-round play due to the winter weather and the continual prevalence of wildfire smoke.
The findings from Phase 1 also show residents want new local sports facilities while sporting groups and elected office holders want a complex large enough for regional and state tournaments.
de Mestre thinks it's possible to satisfy both desires. "I think there's a balance that could be achieved," de Mestre said. "If you a have large facility, but it's available for weekend soccer practice or it has open swim hours at the pool, I think a local facility that has the potential to be an economic driver is possible."
The study has determined that Wenatchee’s location is favorable as a destination for large regional sports competitions. It also notes teams are willing to travel three to four hours, or 300 miles, to such competitions.
Phase 2 of the sports center feasibility study is underway. It being conducted by Consultant Berry Dunn.
The study is being paid for by Chelan and Douglas counties, the cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, the Regional Port Authority and a group that oversees the Town Toyota Center.
A rundown of their financial commitments is below:
- Greater Wenatchee Public Facilities District (Town Toyota Center) $100,000
- Chelan County $ 50,000
- Douglas County $ 50,000
- City of Wenatchee $ 40,000
- City of East Wenatchee $ 30,000
- Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority $ 30,000
Once the feasibility study is complete, the Port's involvement in the process will be over.
Funding for a regional sports complex would require voter approval for two tenths of 1% (0.2%) sales tax increase. The state legislature approved the funding process in the past year.
Cities and communities as well as residents in Chelan and Douglas counties would participate in funding the project based on voting results.