Everett City Council Delays Decision On Allowing Mayor To Hire Consultants To Study Costs & Locations For Aquasox Stadium

November 16, 2023

Everett, Everett Government

Editor’s Update 9:30 AM: We received the following update this morning from Everett, Washington Mayor Cassie Franklin on the City Council tabling of the vote last night.

“We’ve been working on the Everett Stadium Project for the last year and a half, exploring our options with the goal of ensuring we keep our beloved AquaSox here in Everett. Along the way, Council has met with team owners and staff and have been provided with many updates and information, including studies and briefings. We look forward to continuing this important work during the next two weeks and charting a path that keeps this team, minor league baseball and family-friendly, affordable recreation in our city. Everett and our residents deserve nice things, and this amenity not only improves our quality of life but is also a vital economic development asset for generations to come.”

City Council

The Everett City Council usually meets at 6:30PM Wednesday nights.

Everett Aquasox

Tom Volpe has owned the Everett Aquasox since 2008 and is committed to keeping the team in Everett.

One thing is clear. Major League Baseball has told the Everett Aquasox their current stadium is not up to their standards and they must provide an acceptable stadium or they will take away the Aquasox.

For some time the City of Everett has been looking into building a new stadium somewhere else within the city limits, remodeling Funko Field or completely tearing down Funko Field and building a new facility there.

As Funko Field is owned by the School District, that complicates things a bit and there is a deadline looming from Major League Baseball.

The City of Everett administration is looking to hire two different consultants to help figure the costs and potential locations. Wednesday night two Professional Service Agreements were up before the council for approval. One for $344,400.00. Here’s the summary statement for that.

On September 28, 2022, the City and County passed Joint Resolution No. 22-056 in support of a new Everett outdoor multipurpose stadium. If the City is to execute this stadium project, centralized project management will be necessary. Projects of this size and complexity are beyond the scope of current City staffing. In July, the City executed a $50,000 professional services agreement with SOJ, which is a Seattle and Portland-based project management firm, with projects such as ShoWare Center, Lumen Field Modernization, Climate Pledge Arena, T-Mobile Park (Safeco Field), FIFA World Cup 2026 Seattle Host City Capital Projects, Seattle Storm Temporary Improvements at Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion, Pike Place Market Renovation and MarketFront. The purpose of the initial agreement was to get the project moving. Continued project management services will be required as the project moves through the environmental review, site evaluation, project development, and design stages in 2023 and 2024. Upcoming project management services will certainly exceed $50,000 through 2024. Accordingly, in accordance with Procurement Policy, City staff is bringing forward to City Council a new professional services agreement for $344,400.

The second Professional Services Agreement is for $807,421.00 and here’s the summary statement for that.

As the community is aware, Major League Baseball (MLB) has imposed new stadium requirements on all Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams. Funko Field, where the AquaSox currently play, needs major renovation or rebuilding to meet MLB requirements. If in the next few years, a MiLB team does not make significant progress to play in a stadium that complies, MLB will either move the team to another city or take away its franchise.

One of the longest lead time items on providing a stadium compliant with the new rules—wherever that stadium might be located in Everett – is compliance with the state environmental policy act (SEPA). SEPA requires that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared on projects like this, including the evaluation of alternatives. This is anticipated to take about a year.
This work is ordinarily competed by an outside consultant. The City issued a Request for Qualifications 2023-117 on August 14, 2023, with responses due September 6, 2023. Finalists were interviewed, and the highest evaluated is Environmental Sciences Associates (ESA). The administration requests approval to award RFQ 2023-117 and Authorize the Mayor to Sign the Professional Services Agreement with Environmental Sciences Associates in the amount of $807,421, in substantially the form provided.

Several Council members expressed concerns over spending more than $1 million dollars on the two studies. Councilmembers have asked the administration for a number of reports and studies already completed on stadium location costs, clarity on reimbursement from the State for expenses and other economic information. Council voted to table the approval for the consultants until they could have a special separate briefing with all of the reports currently available to get a better understanding of the financial picture. That meeting has to take place within the next two weeks.

Cost estimates for the stadium have ranged anywhere from $40 million to $80 million dollars with little clarity on how much taxpayers in Everett would be on the hook to pay. We’ll let you know when the meeting is scheduled.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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