SBD/Issue 150/Facilities & Venues

Washington State Senate Objects To KeyArena Renovation Bill

If KeyArena Funding Not Revived, Seattle
Could Lose Out On Potential $30M Payment
A Washington state Senate bill to help pay for an expansion of KeyArena yesterday was "declared 'dead' by its chief sponsor," Washington state Sen. Ed Murray, but Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis "vowed to keep trying to revive the proposal in the waning days of the legislative session," according to Jim Brunner of the SEATTLE TIMES. The bill had "passed the Senate Ways & Means committee over the weekend and had appeared poised for a vote of the full Senate" yesterday evening. But Murray said that when majority Democrats "talked about the bill in caucus, too many objections surfaced." Murray: "The bill is dead for the session. Really dead." Brunner notes the bill would have allowed King County to "fund a smorgasbord of projects" in addition to the KeyArena expansion, and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' office had "hoped the big list of beneficiaries would help persuade lawmakers to approve the plan." But that plan "may have backfired, giving legislators different reasons to dislike the bill." If the KeyArena funding "isn't revived, Seattle stands to lose out on a potential $30[M] payment" from Thunder Owner Clay Bennett's Professional Basketball Club. Bennett is "only on the hook for the money if the Washington Legislature approves KeyArena funding by the end of the 2009 legislative session and then Seattle fails to get a replacement NBA team within five years." Ceis: "I just can't believe the Legislature would leave $30[M] in Clay Bennett's pocket." Meanwhile, Brunner notes the Univ. of Washington is seeking state funds to renovate Husky Stadium, and a plane "trailing a banner reading 'No Husky Stadium bailout tax!' circled" the Washington state Capitol yesterday afternoon (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/23).

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