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Kevin Johnson: Arena Will Benefit Surrounding Cities

The new Think BIG committee will explore potential re-uses of the current arena that will benefit the Natomas and surrounding community.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Councilmember Angelique Ashby said Tuesday that Natomas and surrounding cities and counties stand to benefit from a proposed entertainment and sports complex in downtown Sacramento.

Speaking to reporters at Sacramento City Hall, the two announced the newest committee for the Think BIG Sacramento campaign. That is a regional initiative Johnson has said he launched to facilitate construction of the complex and promote job creation across the greater Sacramento metropolitan area.

The complex would replace the aging Power Balance Pavilion and allow the Kings to stay in Sacramento. Fans from around the region including sports radio personality  have been vocal in the efforts to keep the Kings in town.

The new 14-member Think BIG committee will explore potential re-uses of the current arena that will benefit the Natomas community. It will be co-chaired by Councilmember Ashby and  and includes area business and political leaders. 

"We know the economic vitality will be downtown...but we don't want Natomas to lay bare," Johnson said. "Ultimately, there is an interconnectedness between (regional) communities."

In recent weeks, Think BIG officials said they have begun to receive widespread regional support. Earlier this month, they released the “Economic Engine Report,” an independent study that identified key economic benefits to the region, including $7 billion in economic activity over a 30-year period and more than 4,000 jobs to the region.

Ashby said a report from the ICON/Taylor group mentions possible uses for the Natomas site including a hospital and a college campus. A town hall on the issue has been scheduled in Natomas on Aug. 11.

"If the arena were to leave and nothing were to replace it, it would be a huge loss to the community," Ashby said. "We're looking for something that meets or exceeds the standards of what the (current) arena brings to Natomas financially."

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