Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is King County going to fund a rebuild on the Sonics Arena (and build a stadium for a new MLS team?)

I came across this last night:
There have definitely been closed-door meetings involving Seattle city officials about a new basket ball arena in Seattle Center. The idea of also having Memorial Stadium (the ugly thing in the above picture), remodeled, renovated or rebuilt, is a possibility. A Seattle MLS team playing there is one option, and there's been a rumor that Bob Whitsitt would be interested in putting a lacrosse team there as well.
But, no matter how many closed door sessions the city has, it can't actually do what by law it is prevented to do: Seattle can't spend money on Key Arena if it helps the Sonics.

But, King County can. And who recently presented a "vision for Seattle Center?" Ron Sims, the county executive. Yeah, it got the official cold shoulder from the city, but if there are closed door meetings, there might also be closed door reactions.

Sims even put the funding portion of his idea onto paper:
Sims floated legislation in Olympia that would have allowed the county to use hotel-motel and other taxes for a new Sonics arena, plus a redevelopment of Seattle Center and any other "civic amenities" deemed worthy by the county. The legislation would have raised $1 billion for those purposes over 25 years.
In terms of the popularity of sports team subsidies in King County vs. Seattle, remember that the Qwest Field initiative never would have passed without King County. It also might be easier to squeeze through a rebuild of Key Arena to a county-wide electorate if its wrapped around a broader revamping of Seattle Center.

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