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Semi-pro soccer stadium piques interest

POULSBO — Rumblings of a new semi-pro soccer stadium are making their way through Little Norway.

Seattle Sounders owner Robin Waite confirmed planning is currently in the design stages for a stadium that would seat 5,500-6,000 people on Urdahl Road, at the northeast corner of Finn Hill Road.

While the proposed project is still in the pre-application stages and many details have yet to be hammered out, it hasn’t kept some from mulling over the potential stadium’s impact on Poulsbo.

Waite said the Sounders, the reigning United Soccer League Division 1 champions, has an annual operating budget of about $1 million.

He previously looked at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, Olhava and a Viking Way location while searching for a stadium-suitable parcel. Poulsbo’s central location makes it a prime place for the attraction, he said.

City Planning Director Barry Berezowsky confirmed Waite has been through the city’s pre-application process, and has already met with the city and neighboring property owners to discuss parking and infrastructure issues. The land currently does not house water and sewer capabilities, and a possible partnership with other existing lots to provide parking and lessen the amount of land paved is a plausible possibility, he said.

Berezowsky also said the stadium would be allowed to host events, including other sporting games, concerts or school graduations, if Waite decided to make it available for those uses.

The city is now waiting to receive and review Waite’s official application.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said she’s open to the idea, but is still in the midst of fact-gathering and hearing public opinion on the matter. She believes the stadium could be a beneficial amenity to local school and club sports teams, as well as a boost to retail and hotel/motel tax funds. She said the city still needs to fully explore possible impacts and take in citizen input.

Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adele Heinrich said though she hasn’t yet spoken with business owners in the area, she could see the sports stadium becoming a popular, tourist-friendly attraction.

“I think it would be a fantastic thing to happen,” she said. “I think that we would be well-advised to put it in place and have it going because I think we’ll end up with some nice soccer tournaments that will bring people over here.”

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