Yes, parking for Sacramento Kings arena
It is perfectly understandable that a plan to use the city’s downtown parking revenue to help fund a new arena at the rail yards would draw wariness. It’s a big deal. Cities don’t privatize parking operations on a lark; cities don’t engage in long negotiations for any old project. The proposed arena is a massive undertaking, one that deserves scrutiny.
But the most common critiques seem to be based in general fear and misapplied comparisons.
Just about everyone in Sacramento harbors resentment for the Maloofs—arena skeptics and Kings fans alike. But the good news is that nothing about this arena is being done for the Maloofs. In fact, this entire exercise—from Mayor Kevin Johnson’s New York sojourn, to votes before the city council—has proceeded in spite of the Maloofs, who were a couple of signatures from Anaheim last spring.
This project is about improving Sacramento, using the nation’s largest infill space to create jobs, boost the economy and earn some strong, positive attention for the city we love.
Some worry that the lesson of Chicago’s parking privatization won’t be learned. These people ignore a key difference: Chicago privatized parking in an attempt to correct an immediate budget shortfall without addressing the underlying causes for the red ink.
The Sacramento plan would leverage the parking asset to invest back into the downtown core, to promote growth of the economy, job market, and, through bolstered property value, a stronger tax base over the long term. This project is set up to be a true capital improvement. It’s proactive instead of reactive, and as such one of the rare times in the recent years our city has gotten out in front of the strong tilt of history.
It’s important to ensure that the project protects and pencils-out for the people of Sacramento. But we should not oppose an opportunity to spark downtown development just because of who supports it. So as long as the city’s interests are represented fairly—as they have been to this point—the parking plan is smart investment in Sacramento’s future.