The Sacramento City Council approved a public funding plan for a new Kings arena late Tuesday night, as Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee report. The city’s $255MM contribution to the $477MM project largely puts to rest any concern about the team’s ability to meet a league-imposed 2017 deadline for a new building. The funding measure was widely expected to pass, and the council voted 7-2 to approve it. It includes a non-relocation clause that will keep the Kings, who little more than a year ago seemed on their way to Seattle, in Sacramento for 35 years.
“I’ve never been prouder of this community,” Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said. “We had our backs against the wall and we defied the odds. We made a comeback for the ages and in doing so, I feel like we unleashed the very best that Sacramento has to offer. And for this I consider this Sacramento’s finest hour.”
Opponents remain, as a pending lawsuit seeks to stop the arena while a committee is forming with the plan to petition for a public vote that could nullify the council’s vote, according to The Bee. Another group plans a legal challenge stemming from concerns over noise pollution and overcrowding. Still, opponents face a short timetable. Construction on the arena is to begin in November, with completion set for September 2016. The league has retained the right to buy the team back from Vivek Ranadive and his partners if the arena isn’t built by 2017, but commissioner Adam Silver has expressed no worries that the team would run afoul of that deadline.