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Tucson Question: Should the Arena Be Built?

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The Weekly this week is especially interesting (at least to me). In "The Skinny", Jim Nintzel brings up that the City is again considering building the arena on the site of that disgusting, old convention center, now that it has plenty of TIF cash around (with the recent vote to extend it).

So, should we build the arena?

I would have said "Absolutely not!" 6 months ago because I think the money could be better spent on other projects, especially since it's such a cash hog. But with that much cash to throw at an expensive project that certainly has the potential to revitalize the semi-abandoned western section of Downtown, why the hell not? Modern arenas are always great for improving the life of a community and especially for spawning new businesses or, in some cases such as this, creating a reason for existing businesses to stay open.

Also, we could finally get a real hockey team! It seems weird to people that hockey is popular in the desert, but we have so many Midwestern transplants in the area and just outright fans (I like hockey and I would totally go to the games) that I have no doubts that it would work.

Also, as mentioned, the gem show would have a beautiful new site to work with, most likely replacing that stupid tent they set up each year. Although, conversely, it's not like the gem show is threatening to leave.

Any thoughts?

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Well with arenas comes the possibility of creating life, but not always. There have been many instances I can think of where something was built and somethings happened initially, but then it fizzled and nothing really came of it. I wonder if Tucson Residents as a whole would be ok with it though. From what little I know Tucson is not a very development friendly city, I wonder what they would think of a huge publicly funded arena (although most of them are). As for something like an NHL franchise or expansion, i'd remain skeptical on that, on the fact that the NHL requires atleast 1.2million people in a given market to expand in it. Tucson is not quite to that point yet. But who knows there are lots of respectable midsize sports leagues that would probabally be very open to the idea of that, and "if you build it they will come " wink wink.

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