In Arizona, Rob O’Dell in a front-page piece reports the Univ. of Arizona athletic department “has formed a working group to study future facility needs, including a potential new downtown arena.” The Athletics Facility Planning Committee includes “businesspeople and individuals involved with UA athletics.” UA AD Greg Byrne said that although the school met with Tucson city leaders and members of the downtown Rio Nuevo BOD, "we have not formed a partnership with the city or Rio Nuevo on any future facilities and do not have any plans to do so at this point." He said that the group “will set the direction of what the UA does with its facilities in the future” (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 2/25).
WEST COAST RACING: In Seattle, Queenie Wong noted a bill that could put the state of Washington “on the map for NASCAR racing made its way back into the Legislature Thursday.” State Sen. Brian Hatfield said that he is “not optimistic that his bill will receive a hearing in his own committee this session but he wanted to put the idea back out there.” Hatfield’s bill would “authorize the creation of a public speedway authority in an area with a total population of at least 400,000.” He proposed NASCAR legislation in '07, but that bill “failed to make it through the Senate” (SEATTLETIMES.com, 2/24).
TWO THUMBS UP: The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is “backing Ramsey County's foray into a possible stadium for the Minnesota Vikings in Arden Hills.” Chamber President & CEO Matt Kramer and BOD Chair Bonnie Holub, in a letter to Commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, said a stadium on the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant would have "profound economic benefits for our region as a whole." The Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce Board last week “unanimously passed a resolution supporting the idea as well” (TWINCITIES.com, 2/24).
TWO THUMBS DOWN: A WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL editorial states a proposal to sell city-owned Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Bowman Gray Stadium is “ill-advised and ignores the economic impact and cultural value both bring to the city.” City Manager Lee Garrity said that the idea of selling Joel Coliseum to Wake Forest Univ. and Bowman Gray Stadium to Winston-Salem State Univ. “has been discussed for years.” But the editorial wonders, “Would university management of the Joel maintain the same number and variety of events that get booked every year? WFU's interest is its basketball schedule. The rest is not part of the university's mission” (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 2/25).