There's now a consultant in place that'll determine whether Chelan and Douglas counties need or can support a regional sports complex.

The Chelan Douglas Port Authority was asked to organize a feasibility study on a sports complex after interest sprang from local governments.

Stacie de Mestre with the Port Authority says the consulting firm Berrydunn was able to zero in on what needed to be the focus of the study.

"They need to determine what the community wants," said de Mestre. "Do we want a community asset, or do we want a sports tourism asset, something that's going to draw people. Or can we achieve a mix of both."

A subcommittee chose Berrydunn out of three finalists to conduct the study over the next eight months.

There's also a bill moving through the state legislature that would pave the way for a regional sports complex in Chelan and Douglas counties.

The bill is now going through the committee process in the House after passing unanimously in the Senate. It’s being sponsored by Senator Brad Hawkins of East Wenatchee.

The concept for having a regional facility was launched by Hawkins after complaints over the cost of maintaining the City of Wenatchee's aging public pool.

De Mestre said Berrydun was also chosen over the other two finalists because it displayed an understanding of what would work in the two-county area.

“They really understood what we were looking for,” de Mestre said. “And they had a lot of experience in similar markets, meaning like rural areas that have a little bit of a metro center, such as us.”

Al three finalists were given seven different talking points to focus on in their presentation:

Market experience working in urban vs. rural urban communities

How will your outreach approach ensure the study has an accurate representation of our region’s population

Describe the analytics you will use to create the financial pro-forma

Outline your experience with socio-economic data gathering and analysis

Describe your approach to the existing facility assessment – reach, unbiased data, etc

How will you engage local and out of area sporting communities to determine demand

What is your plan to working with the steering committee – suggested check ins, in person vs virtual, gathering feedback, etc

Provide feedback on our suggested scope of work – what is missing, what is unnecessary, should something have more emphasis, etc

De Mestre said the competition among the three finalists was very tight to the point of splitting hairs.

She will be negotiating a contract with Berrydunn for the next two weeks. The contract will go to the Port Board of Commissioners on April 11 for approval, and to a steering committee on April 12. Berrydunn will begin work on the study shortly afterward.

A total of $300,000 has been budgeted for the feasibility study.

If a regional Sports complex is agreed upon by the local governments and groups involved in the process, a local sales and use tax would have to be imposed. A majority of voters would be required to approve any such tax before it would be implemented.

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