The Steering Committee for a proposed regional sports complex within the Wenatchee Valley met with their consulting firm on public outreach strategies on May 5.

Discussion on creating a new sports center began after evaluating the City of Wenatchee’s aging pool.

This project would be built on 283 acres on the Wenatchi Landing site, located near the Odabashian Bridge and Sunset Highway in East Wenatchee. 

The Chelan-Douglas Port Authority chose consulting firm Berrydunn out of three finalists, to conduct the feasibility study for this project.

Sports complex stakeholders were joined by BerryDunn consultants, specialists from Water Technology, Inc., and architects from the Bernardo Wills firm in Spokane.

The goal of this meeting was to set a timeline for their public engagement process, go over marketing strategies, and the logistics of future meetings.

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12th District Sen. Brad Hawkins says he envisioned this project to spawn a mix of hotels, restaurants and retail spaces, within the area, with sports tourism and regional competitions driving economic development. 

Hawkins’ bill, Senate Bill 5001, was recently signed into law, authorizing local governments to work together on a new voter-approved public facilities district (PFD).

If approved, PFD funds would bring in a 0.2% sales tax increase, estimated to bring in over $10 million in 2025.

Chelan County, Douglas County, the City of Wenatchee, the City of East Wenatchee, the Port Authority, and Greater Wenatchee PFD funds contributed to the $300,000 total cost of this feasibility study.

BerryDunn Project Manager Jeff Milkes said the public engagement process should start between June 12-16, and last to the end of July at the latest.

“There's two levels of engagement, the stakeholder meetings, which will probably be an individual or two, and there'll be focus groups that could be upwards of 15 or 18 people at a time,” Milkes shared. “The stakeholders are about 30 minutes and focus groups are an hour or will typically be an hour and a half.”

BerryDunn consultant Hibah Salah shared that they would use an online tool called Social Pinpoint to gather community input on this project.

“I just wanted to point out the kind of interaction as possible,” Milkes said. “So this person coming on has $200 to spend, and they can figure out what their priorities are. Maybe they want educational programming, they only spend $41 of their 200 on that.”

Stakeholders expressed the need to market towards the Latin-American community. Salah shared that the Social Pinpoint site has the option to translate information to Spanish.

“We can also make sure that some of that collateral is also in Spanish so that we're reaching the Spanish demographic community and making sure that they're part of the comment [period] and the feedback that we're receiving from that demographic,” Salah said.

Consultants are also hoping to hear from various sports and community organizations throughout this process.

Milkes said they could also produce a 30-second video that would introduce the project and suggested creating a Dropbox account that would be easily accessible to the committee.

For the rest of the meeting, attendees discussed how to best build a facility that would be the most cost-effective in light of neighboring athletic/aquatic facilities for sports events within the north central region.

Port Authority Public Works and Capital Projects Manager Stacie de Mestre said they are hoping to have phase one of this project finished by the end of September, with the final report ready by early February of 2024.

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