The next step in a feasibility study for a regional sports complex for Chelan and Douglas counties will heavily concentrate on design concepts of a 50-meter-long indoor pool. 

Chelan Douglas Port Authority Economic Development and Capital Projects Director Stacie de Mestre says there's a reason for considering an especially large pool. 

"The steering committee felt strongly that we should only focus on a 50-meter pool because of its ability to have a significant impact on the region," said de Mestre. 

The project's steering committee has approved the second phase of the study with a priority of looking at an aquatic center that could draw large crowds to regional competitions. 

The steering committee includes Chelan and Douglas County mayors and county commissioners as well as members of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Business Council, Confluence Health Hospitals and the Velocity Swimming group.  

According to de Mestre, the Steering Committee felt strongly that a 25-yard pool did not have the potential to have the large economic impact/draw that the 50-meter pool would.   

Plus, other facilities with indoor 25-yard pools are already in the works (Chelan Community Center, Leavenworth City Pool, and Wenatchee YMCA).   

Berry Dunn, the consultant hired to conduct the feasibility study will analyze two indoor 50-meter pool options – one solely meant for competition and another option that allows for both competition and leisure.  

The only other 50-meter pool, or what's also called an Olympic size pool in Washington state is at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. That center has landed several regional, state, national and international events over its 20-year history. 

Berry Dunn is designing the local sport complex's overall concept around the assumption that no improvements will be made to existing facilities, as was initially anticipated.    

According to De Mestre, the consultant will still outline suggested improvements to existing facilities, most likely in an appendix to the study.   

She said the steering committee agrees with the consultant’s suggestion that there's a need for more indoor/outdoor fields in the region. 

Berry Dunn will look at diamond fields for baseball and softball and rectangular fields for soccer. In addition, the firm will come up with possibilities for indoor multi-purpose fields for soccer, pickle ball and volleyball. 

There's some interest in locating the sports complex in the Wenatchi Landing area just north of East Wenatchee, which sits on 283 acres near the Odabashian Bridge.   

State Senator Brad Hawkins secured $4 million in state funding for the Douglas County Sewer District to be extended into the area a few years ago. de Mestre said other locations would also be considered.   

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   

Funding for a regional sports complex could come from the formation of a second Public Facilities District, in addition to the one that manages the Town Toyota Center. The state legislature approved the funding process in the past year. 

A second Public Facilities District would require voter approval of a one-tenth of 1% sales tax. The current district exists under the same funding source. 

Cities and communities as well as residents in Chelan and Douglas counties would participate in funding the project based on voting results.  

The second phase of the feasibility should be complete by sometime this summer. 

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