by Lisa Brown on 10/27/11 at 01:45 AM ET
Edmonton City council today approved the downtown arena deal between the city and Oilers’ owner Daryl Katz. The final vote was 10 to 3, and means that the project will now move forward after four years of discussions that has felt like an eternity. The Oilers’ current lease at Rexall Place will expire before the new arena is built and ready, but that is a minor detail at this point.
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal has been following this deal and process diligently attending council meetings and investigating the issues. In his latest piece, Staples lists out the details.
The basics of this deal mean that Edmonton will build a new downtown arena, the Oilers will be in Edmonton for at least the next 35 years, and money will come from the city, Daryl Katz, a ticket tax and hopefully money from the province. The estimated price at this point is $450 million.
The new arena will be the focal point of a new arena complex much like the one in Glendale Arizona, and LA Live and will be near Edmonton’s city hall, Sir Winston Churchill Square, downtown mall, new art gallery, downtown library, downtown university and the Citadel Theatre. Ultimately, it’s in the right place, near everything downtown.
The goal behind the new arena complex will be to help revitalize downtown by encouraging the growth of new businesses and new condo developments. If all goes well, this new arena will help to change the face of Edmonton’s downtown and because of its location renovations down the road should be a no brainer.
There are still many in the city of Edmonton who feel that the city didn’t get a good deal and that it is wrong for local citizens tax dollars to fund a billionaire’s project, but Katz is putting his dollars into the area and his business the Oilers means a lot to the city in terms of tourism and the local economy. Tax dollar spending will always be criticised, and there will never be a point where everyone is happy with where the money goes.
Edmonton needed this new arena for more than just the Oilers. The new arena will be enjoyed by one and all, and with the changes to the music industry, and artists having to tour more because they are not making the same amount of money from selling cds, a new arena and another venue should help to attract artists to the city as well.
Even once ground is broken, hopefully sometime next year, there will still be complaints and there will be concerns whether the right decision was made. Those concerns are likely never to be quelled, but based off of the citizens who came forward to speak in front of council local business owners are excited for the new complex and the new chapter in Edmonton’s history.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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