THINKING BIG - Chamber Board President Linda Ellen Anderson talked up the Kings, the El Dorado Hills Chamber and the California Welcome Center during the El Dorado Hills stop on the July 14 Think BIG bus tour in support of a new entertainment and sports complex in Sacramento. Arena supporter Kevin Nagle, right, also addressed the media.

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Arena committee pitches regional benefits

By July 15, 2011

THINKING BIG — Chamber Board President Linda Ellen Anderson talked up the Kings, the El Dorado Hills Chamber and the California Welcome Center during the El Dorado Hills stop on the July 14 Think BIG bus tour in support of a new entertainment and sports complex in Sacramento. Arena supporter Kevin Nagle, right, also addressed the media.

Members of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s “Think BIG Sacramento” arena committee canvassed the region by bus last Thursday, drumming up regional support for a new downtown sports and entertainment facility.

The committee is about half way through Johnson’s self-appointed 100-day deadline to develop a funding strategy for the new arena.

The combination of a stalled recovery, a tax-shy public and a soft bond market for large public projects has kept Think BIG’s finance subcommittee up late, cooking up creative solutions to pay for the estimated $387 million sports and entertainment complex located in the Sacramento rail yard.

Chris Lehane, executive director of Think BIG Sacramento, told the couple dozen chamber members and media figures at the El Dorado Hills California Welcome Center that his committee is focusing on fee-based funding ideas that target those who use the arena, as opposed to a general sales tax like the one voters overwhelmingly shot down in 2006.

The presentation was light on specifics, but Lehane said fee possibilities include surcharges on tickets and anything purchased at the arena.

“The plan will definitely showcase local products like El Dorado County wine,” said local businessman and arena supporter Kevin Nagle, who was profiled in Village Life last week.

Elsewhere on the tour the example became specialty candy and nuts.

Lehane cited Kansas City as a demographically similar city with a first-class arena that attracts top acts like U2 and Lady Gaga who currently either skip Sacramento entirely or spend a single night here.

“These projects are hard to accomplish in normal times,” said Lehane. “Comparable facilities were built in a very different economic climate.”

The task force’s goal is to create a public private partnership that benefits the entire region, he said.

Debbie Manning, president and CEO of the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, said she thinks a new arena would benefit the region, and is especially impressed with the committee’s commitment to support local businesses as part of the funding strategy.

The bus tour coincided with the release of an analysis of the proposed entertainment and sports facility’s civic and economic impact on the region. The “Capitol Corridor Impact Report” found that three-quarters of the attendees at the Power Balance Pavilion, formerly Arco Arena, came from outside the city of Sacramento. El Dorado County made up 5 percent of the overall attendees

Lehane said the new arena will bring $160 million per year to the region and create 4,100 jobs, three-quarters of which will come from outside Sacramento.

El Dorado County Supervisor John Knight is one of the 73 Think BIG members. He was present on Thursday and said, “This is a great project and I’m happy to represent El Dorado County, but I’d like to know how we’re going to pay for it without a new tax.”

The bus departed for Roseville, Davis and Rancho Cordova, but Nagle lingered at the Welcome Center chatting with friends and talking about the arena funding process. “We’re vetting a lot of very creative ideas right now,” he said. “Everything’s on the table.

“Today we’re just letting the public know that we want them involved in the process,” he continued. “I was here to say that we have tremendous assets, and let’s use this arena project to promote them.”

Mike Roberts

Discussion | 4 comments

  • J MillerJuly 16, 2011 - 7:29 am

    No on sales tax increase! This is just the start of pretending that the new arena will be good for all El Dorado residents. It's hypocritical of these same folks to denounce personal and corporate "tax increases" as bad for the economy and job creation, but sales tax increases would be good for job creation! Let the folks that use the arena pay for the arena.Corporations can make donations and buy luxury boxes, parking and ticket surcharges, but not sales taxes that affect everyone!

  • KevinJuly 16, 2011 - 6:39 pm

    Ms./Mr. Miller: when we say everything is on the table, we mean anything, but if you feel an entertainment complex is not necessary, that is a different issue. We are looking to build jobs in El Dorado County and we have ideas as I stated at the press conference. We discussed growing our wonderful wine asset in the county the will naturally increase revenue and tax revenue for the county because of expansion and consumption. We will then sell our wines at the entertainment complex and they will charge the person purchasing the wine a fair and competitive price that has a fee that pays for the facility. This is a win win for all and grows the economy as well.

  • J MillerJuly 17, 2011 - 9:04 am

    Kevin the storyline sounds great, but you didn't address-" everything" the issue of a sales tax increase to support the building of the arena. I'm not against the arena and if I use it I would actually expect to pay a ticket surcharge , but I don't expect to pay a 1/4% sales tax to fund it. When you state everything is on the table what about a property tax levy similar to what we pay on the library? The wine example is a stretch but if a $1/glass surcharge on the wine goes to help finance the arena, great, same with rent a car surcharge like Phoenix has. I love the way corporate folks like to "privatize" profits and socialize building infrastructure. I don't think you can swing the sales taxes vote in El Dorado Co and since EDH isn't a city good luck on that too!

  • KevinJuly 17, 2011 - 4:34 pm

    Ms./Mr. Miller: let's place this in another perspective. We are doing everything we can to construct an entertainment complex (arena implies sports only) using private mechanisms. Whether you think the "wine example" is a stretch, that is your opinion as well. Why not sell our great County wines that economically benefits all in El Dorado County whether they use the facility or not? There are other similar ideas for regionalizing as many services as possible to jump start our economy. It has never been crafted before anywhere ever before. I have built businesses that create a comfortable living for all virtually my whole working career and I am not defeated by naysayers. I challenge you to be open and come up with new ideas. Lastly, with all due respect I am not certain what you mean by your second statement unless you think we are proposing a County tax. I do believe in capitalism, especially since I was born into poverty and realized the American dream but not without many obstructions in the road. I have given back in ways you would never know and this is one more journey I believe can be overcome and benefit those who wish to utilize the facility.



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