Sacramento’s Arena Gives Us the Chance to Do Something Big

arenaBy Amy Thoma

I don’t care about the Kings. At all. When given free tickets to go see them play I usually choose yoga or sitting on the couch watching reruns of New Girl over trekking out to Arco Arena (it’s still Arco to me) to watch the NBA. I love sports (free baseball tickets? Call me!), but the NBA is just not my Space Jam.

However, I’m really excited about the downtown arena. For the first time in the nearly eight years I’ve lived here it seems Sacramento might actually do something big. We’re not just building a box we’ll use a few times a year for sports but rather we’re building a vision for our city that will make downtown and midtown the vibrant place we all know it can be. Hopefully building the arena spurs other large civic projects.

Over the last couple of weeks I enjoyed watching Sacramento rally together. Too often we act like victims of the “cow town” mentality that’s plagued us too long. We look at cities like Portland, Seattle and San Francisco as “cooler” than we are even though our chefs, artists and innovators can go toe-to-toe with anyone in those cities.  We’re clearly not resigned to be mediocre.

Sacramento must tread carefully. There are very real financial risks and voters have shown over and over again that there are limits to the amount of public money they’ll spend. But I’m encouraged that people like the Jacobs family from San Diego and Chris Kelly out of San Francisco are willing to invest in us.

City leaders: don’t waste this opportunity. The building industry is coming back and we have a real chance to rebuild a part of downtown that’s, quite frankly, embarrassing.

I’m proud of Mayor Johnson, Senate Pro-Tem Darrel Steinberg and the hundreds of other people who worked hard to make this happen. Now, let’s go do it!

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