This agreement simply opens the door to a process that will involve a number of steps and many additional opportunities for evaluation and public comments. The creation of this arena still revolves around the successful acquisition of a team. If an opportunity becomes available, this area would be prepared to take advantage of the economic and cultural benefits an arena could contribute to our region. This is an example of public-private partnerships that allow many diverse opportunities and benefits with no new general tax dollars.
I received nearly 3,000 letters, phone calls and e-mails regarding this widely debated issue, as well as listening to hundreds of people talk passionately about many aspects of their support and concerns for a new arena. The vast majority of the comments I received supported this private investment that could contribute substantially to economic development, job opportunities and the cultural vibrancy of our region.
The vote on this issue was not unanimous. Although many people agree about the potential benefits this arena could bring to our community, not all agree on the location. The agreement requires an EIS (Environmental Impact Study) to see if the impacts at this location can be mitigated. With that research, we will find out if concerns about the SODO location can be addressed.
The amendments (available here) added by the Council further safeguard the county financially while requiring the project to contribute community benefits. On the strength of these provisions, and the promise of new family-wage jobs and a long-term boost to our economy, I voted to start the process of discussion on an arena partnership.