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Spokane Valley eyes June work start on cross-country/cyclocross complex


(The Center Square) – Spokane Valley city officials anticipate initial site preparation beginning in June for a new $7 million cross-country/cyclocross complex that could be ready to host both local and national sports competitions by late summer 2025, as long as they find the money to finish it.

City council members received a progress update Tuesday evening from Economic Development Director Mike Basinger and Parks and Recreation Director John Bottelli. When finished, the running course and related amenities are expected to meet NCAA event requirements, including facilities for drug-testing of athletes, said Basinger.

The city has partnered with local nonprofit Spokane Sports on the project, which seeks to host events ranging from local youth to elite and collegiate competitions that attract participants from across the country. City officials believe the facility will complement the Spokane region’s robust sports scene, including a legacy of elite running events such as Bloomsday, to further boost tourism and retail sales.

In December, city council members approved a $4.4 million allocation from local lodging taxes toward development of the complex. At the time, Spokane Sports CEO Ashley Blake said total cost for the project, located at the Flora Road River Trail property, is estimated at $7 million.

The city initially purchased about 45.6 acres from the Washington Department of Transportation in February 2021 for just over $2.09 million, funded in part by a $1 million state recreation program grant. As a condition for grant reimbursement, the council on Tuesday approved a “deed of right” confirming the land will be used for public outdoor recreation purposes.

The city did exclude about 3 acres of land from the grant application to allow more flexibility in developing other recreational uses on the property, possibly a kayak rental facility or other concessionaire.

In the past month, Basinger said, the city identified two prospective “progressive design build teams” that have been asked to submit detailed proposals due March 26. Selection of a finalist is slated April 1. In the initial construction phase, Basinger said grading, excavation, and landscaping work is expected to begin in June.

To supplement its $4.4 million lodging tax allocation, the city had requested a $600,000 appropriation in capital funding from the state legislature. Last week, a list of Senate-proposed local and community projects for 2025 included a $150,000 amount for the cross-country course. A final capital projects budget is expected to be approved by lawmakers before they adjourn their regular session on March 7.

Phase Two of the project will involve construction of buildings “as funding allows,” said Basinger, with a functional site anticipated by August 2025.

The city and Spokane Sports intend to seek additional funding and sponsorships to complete other amenities. As proposed, the city will own and maintain the Flora Park facility and will be the lead in procuring a project architect and construction contractor.

Spokane Sports will be responsible for facility design, event planning, marketing and media services, staff management, and promotional partnerships with hotels, restaurants, sponsors, and other tourism-related businesses. This year, Spokane Sports staff expects to do “event scouting and client relationship development” at regional and national NCAA collegiate cross-country championships, and the 2024 USA Cycling Cyclocross Championships this December in Kentucky.

Invitations to visit the Spokane Valley site will also be extended to sports governing bodies ranging from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to USA Track & Field along with collegiate conferences and national running-oriented companies.