Though some details of the concept remain unknown, a renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena for the Phoenix Suns is drawing opposition from Phoenix mayoral candidates.
In July, it was revealed that the Suns would pursue a renovation of Taking Stick Resort Arena–their downtown Phoenix home since 1992–rather than the construction of a new venue. An overhaul could bring several new amenities to Talking Stick Resort Arena, though it precludes any possibility of the Suns and NHL’s Arizona Coyotes sharing a facility.
Discussions over the plan have reportedly unfolded over the ensuing months, but firm financial plans for the project have not been made public. However, two Phoenix mayoral candidates–Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela–recently issued their own statements in opposition of using taxpayer funds for the renovation. More from 12 News:
Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Kate Gallego issued a statement Wednesday saying she wouldn’t spend taxpayer dollars on a new or improved arena for the Suns:
“The city of Phoenix has a strong relationship with the Phoenix Suns that has benefited both the city and the team. I do not believe though that Phoenix should invest in either a new or improved arena for the Suns. We have a number of competing priorities and tough choices we have to make if we’re going to fuel our growth and build on recent progress in Phoenix. While I intend to be a partner with the Suns on the many great things they do for the city, it is not in Phoenix’s best interest to invest in an arena.”
A few hours later, after being asked for comment, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, Gallego’s opponent, issued a statement indicating he agreed with her:
“For too long, taxpayers have been expected to foot the bill for sports venues. This practice must stop now. Hosting the Suns, concerts and other high-profiled events at our arena is critical to our downtown and its economic vibrancy. As leaders, we need to bring stakeholders together to develop a new model that takes the burden off our taxpayers.”
The Phoenix City Council has met several times in executive session in recent weeks to discuss an arena renovation.
Current Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton has announced that he is running for congress in 2018, and he will have to step down from his current post once he turns in election petitions. Gallego and Valenzuela have both declared their intention to seek the mayoral seat, though the date of the election will depend on when Stanton resigns.
As for Talking Stick Resort Arena, it has been suggested that the venue’s downtown location could make it a desirable target for a renovation. The venue entered the 2017-18 season as the sixth-oldest arena in the NBA, and some of the venues that predate the facility–including Minnesota’s Target Center and Utah’s Vivint Smart Home Arena–recently underwent major renovations.