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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Should the People Pay for the Sonics to Stay?

With news that the Sonics’ ownership has reserved the right to purchase land in Renton, it appears that plans are progressing somewhat to move the team to Renton. Honestly, I like the idea of a suburb getting a major Washington attraction. I don’t think it’s necessary that all of the Washington professional sports teams be located in Seattle. And, it doesn’t appear that the residents of Seattle are willing to do anything to keep the team. With the Seahawks’ headquarters and a new arena located in Renton, the city will undergo a massive facelift. This is great for the region and it helps spread some of the tourist attractions throughout the region as opposed to having everything of major interest in Seattle. Residents in Western Washington are quite aware that there is so much more to the region than just one city. If the new arena is built, this will help solidify that belief and showcase more of the region (as well as spread tourist and entertainment dollars further throughout the area). Also, I wish more would be done by the Sonics ownership group to prove that there will be other events or sports teams based out of the new arena. I think residents would be much more receptive to building a new arena if they felt that more than just the Sonics and their owners would actively use the arena. If there were to be a soccer or hockey team based out of the facility, I think locals would be much more likely to accept taxation for the project. People are wary when a singular group of wealthy owners comes to the public requesting cold hard cash. If there were more to the project or more benefits shown, I don’t think the cynicism would be quite as strong. Renton and Western Washington deserve more than just a basketball arena. Hopefully these new owners will realize this and offer more than just basketball to those stuck with the bill.

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