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Poll: Tax dollars spent on dead arena deal: Worth it?

Downtown railyards.

A report on the now-defunct downtown arena deal will likely be light on future prospects for the railyards site, unless City Council members press for more talk on it, Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said Monday.

Dangberg is scheduled to give an update on the arena process, including possible next steps for getting one built in the downtown railyards, at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The city spent approximately $690,000 on predevelopment costs, including travel expenses and consultant fees, since Sept. 27.

“This is a very large and complex project, and it is incumbent on all parties going into a project of this magnitude to do the appropriate due diligence,” Dangberg said, adding that a high-quality team of advisers and consultants was necessary to ensure that any deal wouldn’t leave the taxpayers on the hook.

According to city staff, there’s an upside to the money spent – the city was able to better understand how it could draw revenue from parking spaces downtown, and plans were drawn for the intermodal transit facility – which is scheduled to be built – that allow the arena to be in the railyards as well.

Analysis included in the agenda cites instances in both Indianapolis and Chicago where parking was either privatized or leased to fund development or fix budget gaps.

“Given that the city of Sacramento has few other assets that could produce this kind of large up-front payment through monetization,” staff said in the council agenda, “such funds should be used for a key project that will stimulate economic development and yield future returns for the city.”

Currently, the city faces a multimillion-dollar budget gap that threatens about 280 staff positions and city services.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on May 3, with added information from Dangberg.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.

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