Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why Is No Privately Financed Ballpark Possible In Arlington?

With voters in Arlington, Texas being asked, yet again, to lend their voting support to the building of yet one more sports palace for the sports watching enjoyment of the rest of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and North Texas, I thought this, which I saw in the Seattle Times, to be interesting.

A few years ago Seattle balked at upgrading Key Arena where the Seattle Supersonics played basketball. This balking led to Chesapeake Energy's Aubrey McClendon and others, moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City.

Many in Seattle were sad to see the Sonics go, others, tired of demands for sports palace upgrades, thought good riddance.

But, ever since the Seattle Sonics left the Pacific Northwest there has been an ongoing effort to return NBA basketball to one of its best markets.

A Seattle hedge fund manager, Chris Hansen, came up with a plan to finance the building of a new basketball arena, to be built slightly south of were the Mariners and Seahawks play their ball games.

Hansen and Seattle reached an agreement regarding how this arena plan could move forward. The original plan had the city paying part of the cost of the new arena. But, there were complications.

Now Chris Hansen has come up with a new plan, an all private plan to finance the building of a new Seattle basketball and hockey arena.

This is a bit of a contrast with how similar arenas gets built in the D/FW zone.

A few years back Fort Worth voters were asked to approve the funding for the building of a new multi-purpose arena in what Fort Worth calls its Cultural District. The public approval was in the form of three ballot propositions. One proposition asked voters to approve a dollar fee on livestock stalls, another a tax on parking, another a tax on tickets.

You reading this in democratic parts of America, I am not making this up. This is how Fort Worth voters were asked to approve half the funding of a multi-purpose arena.

Has that new Fort Worth arena begun construction yet? Such seems to take an awful long time in Fort Worth.

Back to Seattle.

Now that Chris Hansen has come up with a new plan to build a new arena another group has come up with another privately financed plan, with that plan renovating Key Arena, that being the location where the Sonics played before moving to Oklahoma City.

Key Arena began during the Seattle World's Fair as the Washington State Pavilion. After the World's Fair the Washington State Pavilion was remodeled into being the Seattle Coliseum, a sports palace. In the early 1990s Key Arena was once again remodeled, increasing fan capacity.

It was the fact that Key Arena had been recently remodeled that voters balked at approving one more remodel, hence saying goodbye to the Sonics.

This was a voter reaction similar to that taking place in Arlington where there is some voter fatigue, having voted to build what the public had been told was a state of the art ballpark, back in the 1990s. Then early in the new century approving the building of a state of the art football stadium, a home run hit distance from the baseball park.

And now, in 2016, being asked to build a new air-conditioned baseball park, to replace the ballpark most locals still think of as new.

I wonder why no one in the D/FW zone comes up with any sort of private plan to build or remodel any of the area sports palaces? Like a clever, privately financed plan to somehow provide shade and conditioned air in the existing Arlington baseball park....

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