Early Study Results Show Support For A Regional Sports Complex
There's progress in the ongoing feasibility study over a possible regional sports complex in the Wenatchee Valley.
The consultant group conducting the study – BerryDunn - gave an update on its early findings to a steering committee this week.
Stacie de Mestre, Director of Economic Development and Capital Projects with the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority, says early analysis shows the sports complex would be viable.
"They made the statement that our population and projected growth would support some sort of regional sports and aquatic complex," said de Mestre.
The consultant group's research show population growth in the age group most likely to be involved in youth sports, 0-19, will grow from 31,896 in 2022 to 35,782 in 2050.
Early analysis along with public comment also shows the area needs a competition-size swimming pool as well as more soccer and baseball fields.
de Mestre is encouraging the public to check out the online "social pinpoint update" page.
"That is the engagement website that we have where people can go on and leave comments, suggest locations for the sports complex,” de Mestre said. "And they can also rank what their personal priorities would be in a sports complex."
The consultant group conducting the study on the sports complex is taking public comment for the next several weeks.
So far, there have been 4,252 site visits, 710 unique users and 135 comments on the survey site.
The group will combine its research into existing sports facilities, demographics and market analysis with public input to come up with more defined results at the conclusion of phase one of the study which is due at the end of September.
In phase two of the feasibility study, the consultant group will put together some conceptual plans and look at potential sites for a regional sports complex.
It’ll also do financial modeling to determine the cost of building and operating the complex, including the cost infrastructure needs such as roads and utilities.
In addition, phase two will include various funding scenarios for the sports complex. One option already available is the creation of a new taxing district known as a “public facilities district”.
State Senator Brad Hawkins secured legislation allowing for a second public facilities district in Chelan and Douglas counties in this year’s legislative session. The already existing district is the Greater Wenatchee PFD, which oversees operations of the Town Toyota Center.
de Mestre said there could be other funding sources for the sports complex, such a private donor.
If the feasibility study reaches phase three, de Mestre said it could potentially include a statistically valid survey of voters to see if they would support a second public facilities district.
Voter approval is required as the taxing district would impose up to a two-tenth of 1% sales tax. The Greater Wenatchee PFD already collects a one-tenth of 1% sales tax in the cities and counties where it was passed by voters - Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Cashmere, Entiat, Waterville, Chelan, Rock Island, and Chelan and Douglas counties.
de Mestre said it’s important to know that no decisions have been made in the feasibility study, and that the consultant group is taking a data driven approach to the study in addition to public response.
The feasibility will be concluded by next February.