Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pricey new arena may be unwise; more at McKale?

UA's McKale Center east of downtown.

TUCSON -- City staff has unveiled a plan to spend $200 million on an arena complex downtown.

Unless we're going to get an NBA team -- the Tucson Suns? -- I'm not sure this is so smart.

Tucson already has a great arena, McKale Center at UA, close to downtown. The City should try harder to partner more with UA before spending big bucks on a new arena a couple of miles away from McKale.

"They're going to eat up all the TIF money," downtown-area activist Lillian Lopez-Grant said of the city. "And then they'll tell us it's all gone, too bad. We've been screwed so many times you almost accept it."

A new hotel may be wise (not if owned or run by the city), and improving TCC makes sense. But $130 million+ is lot of money to spend for an often empty arena with maybe a minor league hockey team and monster truck shows.

With peak oil and higher travel expenses, the big convention business may be on the downswing. We need downtown for Tucsonans first everyday, not just out of town convention goers a few times a year.

Tucson needs a creative Mayor who lives downtown, no longer Walkup the cheerleader from Starr Pass. Rio Nuevo suffers in part because the Mayor doesn't live downtown.

"Patterson just might be the dark horse Dems need." AZ Daily Star, 3/31/07

Any success with Rio Nuevo/New River should also include ecological restoration and related park-like improvements along the Rio Santa Cruz. At least then a new arena could overlook an attractive reborn river.

This arena plan seems desperate, uncreative, and outdated. Right now Rio Nuevo needs smart widespread progress, maybe not an expensive new city built and owned arena.

6 comments:

Tedski said...

You forget how jealous the U of A is about McKale. When was the last time you have heard about a concert there? It used to be a common thing, but no more.

They are even worse about the football stadium. I remember seeing a -gasp- soccer game there back in 1993. They also used to use it for some community events. The last non-football event I remember there was a rally for the basketball team after the NCAA championship. And my understanding is that the football folks were very reluctant to give up the place for that.

The stadium is used somewhere around a dozen days a year. It is ridiculous that a public building that large is used so rarely. The claim is that other uses will damage the field. Other than allowing Catepillar to test a new earthmover, I can imagine few more field damaging activities than 300 pound guys sliding and falling on it.

Sorry, Daniel, you got me started. :)

Kralmajales said...

I agree with you Daniel. A downtown arena sounds just plain crazy. It is basically what was said about the civic center and I just can't believe Arena Football or minor league hockey is going to bring in anything.

What we need to do is to build a decent sized soccer (futbol) stadium in Tucson. Get a pro or semi pro-Team, maybe even a La Liga team from Mexico. THAT would bring in fans and dollars....more than baseball...more than basketball.

Just look at the last "Friendly" match in Phx between Mexico and the USA. Over 60,000 fans.

DRP said...

Better city leadership and effort could likely lead to more shared use of McKale and the stadium.

Promoters or the City may have to pay UA for shared use, but probably could get a better deal for much less than $130 million.

x4mr said...

Daniel,

Cannot suggest strongly enough connecting to the economic development engines of the town. TREO unveiled its blueprint on Wednesday at the Fox theater. In case folks don't know, they went to Austin last May, and the blueprint has Austin written all over it.

Get a copy of that blueprint and understand the "Power of Five" methodology.

Tucson is not Austin and never will be. We don't have George Kozmetsky, we don't have oil, and we are Arizona, not Texas.

Yes, was hoping to see you at the Giffords speech yesterday and looked for you. The Chamber is rather pink, but the event was still good real estate.

Rodney had fun and Jack Camper did acknowledge his presence.

Oh, the University is important, and the current "deciders" (a rather reddish bunch) do not understand how the students think.

x4mr said...

Oh, by the way, should you ever delete a comment of mine in the future, I get it.

AZW88 said...

The current football coach has an even tighter lock on stadium uses. U of A band Day, a time-honored tradition, is no longer held in Cctober as it was for decades, it is now held after the last or next to last home game. Band Day is a qualifying event for marching bands to compete at the state festival. This year, it was held AFTER the state festival, making it kind of moot.

Stoops claims the all day competetion would damage the field, but no coach in the past ever complained afterwards. I bet that facility anagement people feel the same about McKale

I think it is assinine that the city and the University can't work out things... hell, they wanted the city to help them build their science center in the sky....

looks like Tedski wasn't the only one you got started,....