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Meeting set for sports complex

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | July 17, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Curious about the new James E. Russell Sports Complex at Travers Park?

Area residents are invited to a public meeting on Tuesday, July 19, at Community Hall. The meeting, set for 5-6:30 p.m., will give city officials a chance to share the operations plan for the facility, Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton said in a press release.

Consultants from BerryDunn will be leading the public input session to detail the plan development. In addition, city staff will provide an update and overview of the design-build process for this facility, Stapleton said.

The sports center comes after the city’s acceptance of a $7.5 million donation from Jim Russell and his mother, Virginia (Ginny) Russell, in March. As wife and son of James E. Russell, Jim Russell said they made the donation, after his father's passing in 2019 to honor his father’s lifelong dream of giving back to the community.

Born and raised in Sandpoint, James E. had a life-long love of sports. He played football and basketball at Sandpoint High and never lost his enthusiasm for fishing, golf and tennis, his family has said.

After graduating from Sandpoint High, Russell went to the University of Idaho and became an engineer who is now enshrined in the Engineering Hall of Fame.

The James E. Russell Sports Complex will primarily serve tennis, pickleball and basketball, and other secondary community activities will also be accommodated.

The first phase of the project will focus on the construction of the center, complete with multi-use courts, as well as the expansion of the skate park to include bike skills facilities and the creation of a gateway plaza.

The council awarded the bid for the design and construction of the project to Emerick Construction earlier this month.

Stapleton said there will be future meeting announcements to discuss the improvements and expansion plans for the all-wheels skatepark, which is also a part of the overall project.

The design of the project is expected to be completed within the next three months. The project is expected to be completed by October 2023, Stapleton said at the July 6 council meeting.

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