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Monday, October 13, 2003
Bill provides funding options for downtown

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Gray Davis has signed a bill that could help fund a new arena for the Sacramento Kings, officials said.

The bill, which opens up new funding options for downtown revitalization, allows business owners to float bonds of up to 30 years and pay them off by assessing fees on themselves. It could be used to revitalize the 240-acre Union Pacific railyard near Old Sacramento, which could have a new Kings arena as its centerpiece.

The legislation, which Davis signed Sunday, would provide an opportunity for new developments all over the state as well, said Davis' spokesman Russell Lopez.

"The governor looked at the broader picture," he said. "Yes, it could help here in Sacramento, but he's looking at the larger perspective that if other cities choose to do this, it could help them as well."

In Sacramento, the measure could help fund other projects along the downtown waterfront, K Street Mall and near the Sacramento Convention Center.

Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo warned that passing the measure does not mean the arena will be built, though she supports Davis' move, and thinks a new arena would be a good idea.

"When something can bring 18,000 people to one location, 200 times a year, that's a lot of economic energy, a lot of excitement," Fargo said.

Opponents of the measure say it goes against Proposition 218, which asks local government to get voter approval before raising taxes, fees and assessments.

The bill will become law on Jan. 1.