The plans to build an indoor fieldhouse just east of Lauzier Park in Quincy met with enthusiasm and skepticism.
The plan, which could bring indoor 7v7 soccer fields, pickleball courts and basketball courtsm encountered both praise and concern among civic leaders and people on social media.
While some highlighted how much they thought Quincy needed such a facility, others pointed out what they saw as its hefty price tag.
Pat Haley, city administrator for Quincy, noted that such opposition is not unusual for a project of this magnitude and cited the planning, construction and unveiling of the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee as a nearby example of an idea once thought of as a “white elephant” but which has then become a treasured community asset.
“They don’t call it (a white elephant) anymore,” he said with a chuckle. “They realized, ‘oh, my goodness, I think it’s kind of nice to have this.’”
Nevertheless, Haley noted that there’s still a ways to go between now and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Among the tasks that need to be decided is to nail down what exactly the site would look like, whether there are ways to build it cheaper, and what such a construction would entail.
This is an idea that has been floating around for years, and now, Haley says, with the direction of Mayor Paul Worley, things have taken on a more serious turn, with Haley being instructed to see what the options are.
The aim is to bring to fruition something that “we know people want: something to do in the wintertime indoors,” Haley said, adding that given the fervent popularity of soccer in Quincy, the idea included soccer fields.
One such option is a fabric building that could provide an indoor space without requiring a hard-sided structure.
“Fabric buildings cost less,” Haley said. “They typically don’t last as long because the fabric has to be replaced, but you can get 25 years out of the fabric.”
These buildings are designed to handle snow loads, and the “fabric” in the name does not mean cloth, Haley said.
“A more appropriate name would be ‘membrane building,’” he said.
This alternative would include soccer fields, pickleball and basketball courts, and an entry area. The price tag, a cool $13 million, or about four million more than the city had initially budgeted.
“So now we are evaluating: Do we want to break this into phases, and take on portions this year and portions next year, or do we want to size it down to fit into that $9 million budget, with the possibility of expanding it into the future?”
Part of that answer will come via the architects, who will present the city with more options, but, “One way or another, we will come up with an indoor sports facility,” Haley said, “that’s within our budget.”
Quizzed about the price tag and its relation to a community the size of Quincy, Haley said that this type of soccer facility does not exist in North Central Washington right now, “so there is a lot of projection that this could become a tournament-type of facility.”
A facility like this would invite tourney dollars and tourism dollars to our community, Haley said. There’s always the possibility of making it smaller in order to get it for cheaper, Haley said, but that also comes with drawbacks.
“The price is always going to be an issue, and if you’re going to build something, you have to make it suitable,” Haley said. “If you’re going to kick a ball around, you’ve got to have some room.
He later added, “How much smaller do we want to make it, or do we want to try and make it happen as a way to put Quincy on the map, with tournament-type activities.”