The proposal for a new arena in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood continues to be a major issue in the headlines and at the King County Council.
As discussed in my previous e-News, the King County Council and Seattle City Council are currently reviewing a proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the development of an approximately $500 million multi-purpose arena in Seattle’s stadium district. Under the proposed MOU, up to $200 million would be financed through public bonds that would be paid back over 30 years from rent payments and tax revenues generated by the facility. You can get more information about the proposed MOU and arena here.
Listening to the public
Bob fields a question from a town hall attendee.
I recently hosted a town hall meeting in North Seattle with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien to discuss the arena proposal directly with the community. As an elected official, I believe it is important to meet with and hear directly from my constituents about important county issues. This was the first opportunity for the public to have a dialogue about the arena proposal with their elected officials.
More than 250 people attended the town hall meeting to ask questions and provide their thoughts. Attendees represented a wide range of viewpoints, and we heard comments both in support and in opposition to the proposed arena. The meeting made clear that many people feel strongly about this issue, and I will keep their thoughts in mind as I weigh the merits of this proposal.
The County and City councils also recently held a joint public hearing on the proposal and heard from hundreds of residents about the proposed arena. More about the public hearing is available here.
Proposed Economic Impact Analysis – Examining Arena’s impact on jobs and local economy
The development of an NBA and NHL arena in SODO has the potential to impact important segments of our economy, including construction, tourism, and maritime industries. That is why I am proposing an amendment to the MOU that will require an independent Economic Impact Analysis be included as part of any final arena deal.
Statements have been made on both sides of this issue about the potential impact of the arena on jobs and economic growth in our region. Rather than use anecdotal or incomplete information, however, we need an independent evaluation of the potential impacts – both positive and negative – on the region’s economy.
Under my proposal, the independent Economic Impact Analysis will be performed after the MOU has been adopted as part of the next stages of review and permitting for the project and before any issuance of public financing for the project. This will give the public the opportunity to fully understand the economic costs and benefits of the project before committing public funds.
The robust analysis will study the impacts that may result from the construction and operation of the proposed arena, including changes in employment, economic activity, and tax revenues. The Economic Impact Analysis will examine the arena’s projected effect on the overall regional economy and its compatibility with regional economic development plans.
The importance of conducting a comprehensive Economic Impact Analysis was reinforced by the findings of the expert review panel that reported to the Council on the potential risks and benefits of the proposed arena earlier this month. The panel found that while the deal offers little financial risk to King County taxpayers, important questions remain about the overall impact of the project on the local economy. The panel’s report is available online here.
You can read more about my proposal to require an independent analysis of the impact the proposed arena would have on jobs and our economy here.
This just in: On Monday, July 23, the King County Council in an 8-0 vote relieved the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee of the ordinance to approve the MOU, which means that the proposal is now before the full King County Council for consideration.
The Chair of the Council has advised that this issue will be on the agenda for a public hearing and possible final action at the next King County Council meeting, beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 30, on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. At the meeting, there will be an opportunity to provide public testimony on this proposal.
Retired Metro Van Donations: Last Call for Applications
Bob with previous recipients of a donated van.
The King County Council’s van donation program makes retired Metro VanPool vans available to nonprofit organizations or local governments to address the mobility needs of low-income, elderly or young people, or people with disabilities.
If you know of an organization in District 1 that would put a van to good use for the community, please contact my office for more information.
*** Applications need to be completed and received by my office by August 1. ***
Bobís Bus Books
Last month, I had the pleasure of speaking at the launch of an exciting new program called “Books on the Bus,” the first-ever book club for transit riders. The program is a collaboration of King County Metro, Transportation Choices Coalition, the King County Library System, and others. You can read more about this event and program here.
The current “Books on the Bus” selection is Hotel Angeline, a novel about a 14-year-old tasked with managing her mother’s hotel in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The novel is the result of a Seattle7Writers project, which brought together 36 Pacific Northwest authors for a week-long marathon of writing live on stage.
As a regular bus rider on the #41, I enjoy being able to read on my commute and will be adding Hotel Angeline to my reading list. I am currently reading Truth Like the Sun by Jim Lynch, which touches on two things I like – politics and local history. Using Seattle as a backdrop, the novel alternates between the World’s Fair in 1962 and a mayoral race in 2001. Jim Lynch is a local author who also wrote The Highest Tide, which my wife Colleen and I both enjoyed.
In the District
From parades to concerts, there are always a lot of great things to see and do during the summer. Below is a selection of upcoming fun, summertime events in District 1:
On Wednesday, July 25, the Maple Leaf Community Council is partnering with the neighborhood business community to host the annual Maple Leaf Ice Cream Summer Social at the Maple Leaf Playground. As Maple Leaf residents, Colleen and I are planning on being there with our twins, Jack and Katie, to catch up with neighbors and enjoy the entertainment and free ice cream.
Kenmore recently kicked off its 10th annual Kenmore Summer Concert Series. Every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. until August 16, you can enjoy a casual evening with live music at Saint Edward State Park (14445 Juanita Dr. NE). Concerts are free, and each night features different music from around the globe.
With Bothell’s Music in the Park Concert Series, you can also enjoy live music every Friday through August 24. From swing to soul, gospel to rock, everyone will find something to enjoy at the concert series. All concerts are free and begin at 6:30 p.m. at North Creek Sportsfield #3 (11905 North Creek Parkway).
The 9th annual NW SolarFest is on Saturday, July 28 at Shoreline Community College. Presented by Shoreline Solar Project in partnership with the City of Shoreline, Seattle City Light, and others, this renewable energy and sustainable living fair features over 100 exhibitors, fun activities for kids, and live entertainment.
An annual Seafair tradition, Lake City Pioneer Days is celebrating its 70th year! On Saturday, August 4, the day kicks off with a street festival from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. near the Lake City Library. There is also live entertainment and a vintage car show. At 6 p.m., the Rotary Kids Parade starts, followed by the Grand Performance Parade at 7 p.m.