Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Great Place for Arena

If the traffic issue can be resolved, Cal Expo is an excellent location for a new arena.

Expo's arena moment
Earlier plans for a sports facility have flopped, but now NBA leads the charge.
By Terri Hardy - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, September 26, 2007

For more than 30 years, local officials have seriously considered, then ultimately rejected, building a sports arena at the state fairgrounds on Exposition Boulevard. This week, the National Basketball Association is hoping to buck that trend -- saying the time is right for Cal Expo.

Previous searches for the ideal arena location concluded that traffic issues at Cal Expo were too problematic, or that sorting through a land transfer with the state was too daunting -- or that the city would be better served having the arena downtown.

Sometimes, the timing just wasn't right.

"It's always been No. 2 -- always the bridesmaid," said City Councilman Rob Fong, who has been a chief supporter of a new arena in the city.

Enter John Moag, brought in by the NBA after Sacramento voters in November smacked down a city-county plan to raise sales taxes and build an arena in the downtown railyard. Moag, charged with taking a fresh look at arena options, ended up with an old idea: Build it at Cal Expo.

Moag is scheduled to brief City Council members Thursday. On Friday, he's scheduled to go before the Cal Expo board to ask it to approve opening negotiations with the NBA.