In Sacramento, Lillis & Bizjak in a front-page piece report the city "is preparing to push ahead with an eminent domain lawsuit to seize control of ... a vital parcel in the plan for a new sports arena" for the NBA Kings. Top city officials "will ask the City Council on Tuesday for authority to file an eminent domain lawsuit as early as next week." The city "has been trying for months to buy the vacant site from its owners, but has been unable to secure agreement on a sales price." If the council "approves the eminent domain strategy, the city will place a check" for $4.35M into escrow that "would be used to acquire the property." Sacramento Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said that this amount "is based on a third-party appraisal of the property" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/3).
STATUE IDEA: In Toronto, Lance Hornby reports the Maple Leafs plan to build a "touchstone monument outside the Air Canada Centre, meant to link the near-century old franchise to its ‘nation’ of fan[s] and give visitors the ideal photo op." A source said that the monument, "still in the conceptual stage in terms of size and material, is going to depict a row of Leafs, perhaps seated or standing on a bench, representing players from every era." In that sense, it "will be an evolving work, with new pieces added every year or two." The public "could have a role in choosing which Leafs will be lionized, but nothing will be determined until the city grants the permit and MLSE settles on a design" (TORONTO SUN, 1/3).
FUNDING ISSUE: In Louisville, Sebastian Kitchen notes Kentucky state auditor Adam Edelen "plans to talk to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer about possible issues surrounding funding" for KFC Yum! Center. The issue "resurfaced this week when Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson raised concerns" about the lease agreement with the arena’s chief tenant, the Univ. of Louisville, "after a second major credit rating firm downgraded" $340M in arena bonds to junk status. Fischer's Communications Dir Chris Poynter said, "The arena is not in any imminent financial danger" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/3).
AUSTIN POWERS: In Austin, Gary Dinges reports the city’s top-selling venue for alcohol "in November was Circuit of the Americas." Receipts at the track totaled $2.3M, down 17% from $2.8M last year. Still, COTA's alcohol sales "were high enough for it to rank No. 1 in the state, topping Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, which was tops in October" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/3).