After voters rejected a ballot measure that could have funded Toyota Center upgrades, the Tri-City Americans (WHL) are evaluating their options for the future.
On Tuesday, voters rejected a proposed sales tax increase in Kennewick, WA that would have included funding for upgrades to the Toyota Center. The Americans are under a September 2019 deadline to meet certain Western Hockey League guidelines pertaining to fan amenities and player safety, and say that a significant financial investment is needed to bring the city-owned arena into compliance.
With the ballot measure failing by a wide margin, the Americans are now going to have to sort out their options for the future. WHL commissioner Ron Robison stressed that the upgrades are a necessity, but indicated that the league is hoping for a solution to keep the Americans in Kennewick. More from Tri-City Herald:
The league wants an action plan. Failing that, it will consider other options.
“Let’s hope we can find a solution,” he said. “We certainly want to keep them there. That’s our objective.”
Had it been approved, The Link would have raised the Kennewick sales tax by two-tenths of a percent, or two cents on a $10 purchase. After the latest count Thursday, it was failing 56 percent to 44 percent out of 11,329 ballots cast.
The revenue would have supported up to $45 million in bond debt to pay for an array of projects at the Three Rivers campus. The list of projects include an expansion of the Three Rivers Convention Center, a 2,300-seat theater, added parking and a modernization of the Toyota Center, which is nearing its fourth decade.
Their lease commits the Americans to the Toyota Center through 2020, though the club can either negotiate a lower rent or terminate the agreement early if the arena fails to meet league standards.