The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is entering into an agreement with a consultant to perform a Regional Sports Complex Feasibility Study. The Port Board approved the agreement Tuesday morning at its biweekly meeting.

The contract, or Professional Services Contract, calls for the New England based firm Berry Dunn to be paid roughly $300,000 to perform the research.

Contract negotiations to finalize the scope of work, schedule, and fee with BerryDunn took place over the previous two weeks.

Port CEO Jim Kuntz says aquatics groups are already well represented in discussion about the complex, and thinks it'll be important that sports groups get the same treatment.

"I think it's going to be important that the sports complex get a lot of input for softball leagues and soccer leagues," said Kuntz. "So, this group will really reach out to these interest groups to make sure that the sports component on the study is well represented"

The study will determine whether it's worthwhile to build a regional sports complex to serve the Chelan-Douglas county area.

Port Public Works & Capital Projects Manager Stacie de Mestre says the firm will be using artificial intelligence to help with some of its research.

"They're talking about using AI technology to track patterns at existing facilities, how often they're visited, where the people are coming from, how long they're staying, where they're going after that," said de Mestre. "So, I thought that was really interesting."

The study is divided into two phases that should be completed by early next year.

Phase One looks at existing Conditions of public and private facilities in the area as well as demographics. A market analysis will also be performed in phase one, and public interest will be gauged. Phase One is scheduled to be complete by the end of September.

Phase Two will look at goals and objectives, based on Phase One. It currently includes three facility options for the complex: a full on Sports Complex and Aquatic Center with ball fields and extensive aquatic features, a Year-Round Aquatic Center with an indoor Olympic Size Pool and outdoor aquatic options, and an Outdoor Aquatic Center with an outdoor Olympic Size Pool. The facility options could change based on data collected in Phase One.

Phase Two will also include the an estimation of the financial performance of each of the three facility options as a well as a look at the economic impact of each facility. In addition, Phase Two will look at funding options, both public and private, for the complex.

Phase Two will be completed by mid-February of next year.

A possible Phase Three would focus on a survey of voter support for the sports complex project. Any Sports Complex would likely be financed by sales tax money, which would require a public vote.

The feasibility 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. Kuntz said Chelan and Douglas counties and the cities with interest in the sports complex would determine if and how to move forward from there.

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