Since public money might be spent on the project, the SODO arena proposal has become the hottest news in Seattle.
The construction plan of a multi-purpose sports and entertainment complex in south of Seattle downtown is originally brought together by private investor Chris Hansen alongside with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
As a former Seattle SuperSonics fan, Chris Hansen, in hope of bringing the NBA team back, holds firm belief that sports activities will influence and benefit all communities.
“I grew up in the Rainier Valley and I saw firsthand the impact that professional athletes could have on the community,” Hansen wrote in an editorial (http://bit.ly/Of26ak) for the Seattle Times in July, wishing his effort in creating venues for professional sports could help youth to stay on the right track. “They hosted events at nearby Boys & Girls Clubs, encouraged us to stay in school and study, and used their status as a platform to speak out against the drugs and gang violence that were ravishing my neighborhood.”
“Sports teach critical values like teamwork, work ethic and personal responsibility — values that are too often lacking in the lives of at-risk kids,” he wrote.
In addition to Hansen’s primary investment, the project will be financed by city funds. Concerns of where the money will come from and what positive effect the proposal will generate have subsequently followed.
Working everyday in the Chinatown/International District (CID), Dario Ybarra pointed out there appears to be a lack of service and knowledge of rules among the area.
“I would like to know what the benefit of this project will have on Chinatown,” said Dario Ybarra, Western Hemisphere Liaison of American immigration Solutions, PLLC.
Traffic congestion and parking situation are also two main concerns Ybarra holds.
“We hope the City will pay more attention to International District,” he said. “If there is a game on Saturday, then it’s really hard to find parking, let alone much more people will come.”
Meanwhile, proponents of the proposal look forward to maximize the future arena’s active energy.
“One way for the sports stadiums to support Seattle’s diverse cultures and small businesses in the surrounding neighborhoods is to work with the CID in promoting it as the dining district for the stadiums,” said Beth Takekawa, executive director of Wing Luke Museum.
Sally Lao, media coordinator of T.D. Wang Advertising Group, also remains optimistic about the blueprint of SODO arena. She believes the proposal will draw many people from different places, in which both the area and the CID based company will get a surge in popularity.
“It’s a big advantage to all of us,” she said.
The proposal was approved on Monday by the King County Council with a 6-3 vote. However, city councilmembers want Hansen to make changes in the plan in terms of increasing protections for taxpayers and improving on nearby infrastructure to alleviate traffic impacts.