A Shining Star For Spokane: Dwight Merkel

Dwight Merkel Sports Complex Spokane Football spokane grapevine

We have had several opportunities to play on these football fields at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex. Let me just say that this incredible sports complex is a shining star of Spokane. It is such a wonderful mix of family, fun and utility. It is an amazing feat for the City of Spokane to have given it’s community this bastion of sports and family fun during the most difficult economy since the Great Depression.

I Copied the FAQ from the Spokane Parks Website. You will find them below.

Check it out if you get the chance.

Where is the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex?

5701 N. Assembly, adjacent to Joe Albi Stadium.
How big is the complex?
Approximately 80 acres.

Who was Dwight Merkel?

Dwight Merkel was one of Spokane’s most influential figures in the development of
athletic competition for children. Despite having died at the young age of 55, Merkel
was the guiding force behind the Spokane Youth Sports Association, where he
served for 31 years. Merkel leaves behind a legacy of commitment to community
and athletic opportunity for all children.

What activities are available at the Merkel Complex?

 Soccer
 Softball
 Youth Baseball
 Skate Park
 BMX Track
 Flag Football
 Ultimate Frisbee
 Neighborhood Park with Playground and Splash Pad
 Paved perimeter trail, plus an unpaved hiking trail approximately 1-mile long
that leads down to Riverside State Park’s trails and offers outstanding views
of the Spokane River

How much did the Merkel Complex cost and how was it funded?

The Dwight Merkel Sports Complex was constructed using $7 million from the 2007
City of Spokane Parks Improvement Bond along with $4 million from the sale of park
property that was approved by City voters in 1999 and subsequently held in reserve.
How much does it cost to reserve the fields at Merkel?
with Lights
with Lights
Grass Fields
(6) N/A $30/hr N/A $20/hr
Artificial Turf
Fields (2) $65/hr $55/hr $55/hr $45/hr
Fields (5) $26.25/game $18.75/game $22.50/game $15/game
Fees valid through 12/31/2010- Softball/Baseball Games/Practice times are set at 1 ½ hour
– Fees include ball field prep for first and fourth game of the day.
– Practice fees are the same as game fees.

How were these fees determined?

We know we have to balance what our local market can bare with what it costs to
operate this facility. The fees were determined by Spokane Parks and Recreation
staff, the Park Board and input from user groups in the community. After researching
fees at similar facilities throughout Washington and considering the operational costs
of the fields, the user fees were developed and approved by the Park Board.
How can I find more information about reserving the facility?
To reserve practice, game or tournament space, contact Carl Strong at
cstrong@spokanecity.org or 509.363.5415.
Who does the scheduling for City run sports?
Adriano Eva, who can be contacted at aeva@spokanecity.org or 509.625.6625.
When can the BMX Track be used?
Public Access to the BMX Track at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex is currently being
limited to prevent over use until the dirt has further compacted.
Here is the current schedule for access:
1 p.m. – 7 p.m. daily
Track Closed for BMX races on these Saturdays:
October 2, 16 & 30

What information can you provide about the new trails?

There are two new trails at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex. The completed trail is
the Riverside State Park connector trail that links from the Dwight Merkel Sports
Complex to Riverside State Park’s trail system and the Spokane River. This unpaved
trail is approximately 1-mile long with outstanding views of the Spokane River –
perfect for mountain biking, hiking, trail running or walking your dog. In addition,
there is an as yet to be constructed 5K (3.1 mile) “life sports” trail that will encircle
the entire Merkel complex and Joe Albi Stadium and connect to the trail going down
to Riverside State Park. It will be designed to allow neighbors and visitors to bike,
run and walk without navigating through parking lots, playing fields, etc.

When are the sprinklers scheduled to go on and can that schedule be

The sprinkler system is designed to start at about 11pm and run all night, from zone
to zone to zone, in order to water the entire complex during the night and early
morning hours. Due to the size of the complex, the design of the irrigation system
and the available water, we have limited flexibility in our watering schedule at this time. However, as time at the complex progresses and if we can adjust to water less,
we will and we will try and have the watering done as early as possible.
Who designed the artwork?
Artist David Govedare created two sculptures 16 feet above ground, with the main
body constructed of steel hoops mimicking movement. Govedare has been creating
public artworks for the past 35 years, including the notable piece, The Joy of
Running Together, located in Riverfront Park
For more information: www.spokaneparks.org

Monte Tareski