City Hears Economic Impact of Kennison Field

Release Date: 


The Hermiston City Council listened to the economic development potential and long-range financial impacts from the Hermiston School District's Kennison Field Renovation Project Monday night.

School District Interim Superintendent, Wade Smith, presented several options that the school board had examined as possibilities for upgrades to the facility.  The district has $3.3 million already secured to construct what Smith called the, "entry-level facility," but school board members have opted to support the mid-level facility, estimated to cost approximately $4 million.  The $700,000 gap in available funding presents a key economic development opportunity, Smith said.

Travel for high school athletics contests represents a major portion of regional tourism in the Northwest.  Closing the $700,000 gap to build the mid-level facility would allow the Hermiston area to position itself to claim a major stake of the market.  The key is that the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) has several stringent requirements to allow schools to host state-level competitions.  Currently, there are no high school facilities in eastern Oregon that meet OSAA requirements, which means teams and their fans have to travel to western Oregon for any state-level competitions.  Constructing Kennison Field to the level that meets OSAA specifications will allow Hermiston to attract state-level events, and all of the tourism spending accompanied with them.

In addition to Economic Development potential, City Manager, Ed Brookshier, pointed out the potential for positive financial impacts on City of Hermiston resources as a result of the Kennison Field renovation.  Because the renovation will allow the facility to host football, soccer, and lacrosse, all in one location, the existing greenspace in the community will open up to other uses.  By partnering with the school district on this, and future facilities, Brookshier said he expects the city can substantially reduce the financial burden on taxpayers to build future recreation facilities.

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