Seattle City Council
10/13/2005 2:04:00 PM
Tatsuo Nakata (206) 684-8806
Newell Aldrich (206) 684-8803
NO PUBLIC FUNDS FOR KEYARENA MAKE-OVER
Resolution will be introduced Monday to demand public vetting of any proposal
SEATTLE – Monday, City Councilmembers David J. Della and Nick Licata will introduce legislation to prohibit the City from lobbying the Washington State Legislature on behalf of the Seattle SuperSonics’ request for a make-over for KeyArena.
The Della/Licata resolution gives the Council an opportunity to require a public review before the City goes to the Legislature in support of the Sonics. The Sonics sought approximately $180 million during the 2005 Legislative session for an extensive renovation of KeyArena. The Mayor was active in supporting their request for state assistance.
“I need to look Seattle’s taxpayers in the eyes and tell them their money is being spent wisely,” said Councilmember David J. Della, chair of the Council’s committee on parks, which oversees Seattle Center. “I haven’t seen anything as yet that convinces me this is a good arrangement for our citizens or Seattle Center. I will not stand for the city building another sports stadium without the public’s involvement.”
“I’ve been monitoring this issue since last year,” said Councilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Arts Committee. “I’m still not convinced it’s in the best interest of our citizens to push for this remodel. We need accountability and full disclosure. The Mayor and the Sonics should not assume the Council will go along with whatever they propose to the State Legislature.”
The Della/Licata resolution requests specific information prior to Council making a determination on whether or not to support any state legislation to redevelop KeyArena. Legislation proposed by the Sonics last year would have provided money for a remodel if the Sonics took control over operations of KeyArena. The facility is currently operated by the City of Seattle, through the Seattle Center and also hosts the Seattle Thunderbirds, concerts and family events.
In recent years, funding for KeyArena’s previous remodel has become a financial problem for Seattle Center and the City. In 1994, the City issued $73.4 million in bonds to help pay for an overhaul of KeyArena on behalf of the Sonics. Approximately $60 million in payments remain to be paid through 2014. Between 1995-2005, revenues from club seats, suites and naming rights have generated approximately $12.5 million less than the necessary payments the Seattle Center must make to the City as a result of the remodel. Seattle Center—and ultimately the City, is responsible for making up the difference between revenues and expenditures related to the 1994 KeyArena remodel.