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Officials Balk at Talking Stick Resort Arena Plans

Phoenix Suns

With the proposal running into obstacles, some Phoenix officials are publicly expressing their opposition to a plan to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena

Over the summer, the Phoenix Suns confirmed that they would pursue a renovation of Talking Stick Resort Arena over the construction of a new facility. Discussions between the team and the City of Phoenix have reportedly been taking place, but some of the key details behind the proposal have not been released to the public. There are signs, however, of discussions between the two sides breaking down, as it was reported earlier this week that Phoenix was breaking off discussions with the Suns.

An issue for certain Phoenix City Council members appears to be the financial framework of the renovation plan. While some of those details have not been made public, a few council members have come out and criticized the economic aspect of the plan. More from The Arizona Republic:

Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring, the body’s fiscal conservatives, both confirmed in interviews this week that they will not support the arena upgrades.

DiCiccio said the deal presented to the council “doesn’t make economic sense for the city.” He, too, pointed to the Brewers deal as an example of how sports partnerships should work.

Waring said he thinks taxpayer money should go toward other things, such as public safety.

“The Suns have been a good partner for the city and obviously they’re a long-standing organization in Phoenix. I just wish the city of Phoenix was focusing more on its core competencies,” he said.

Renovations would need support from five of the nine voting council members in order to be approved, and at least three have come out against the plan. In comments to The Republic, a fourth–councilman and mayoral candidate Daniel Valenzuela–called for a change to the model, saying “We have to bring leaders to the table … to create a new model that would not bring an undue burden on our taxpayers in order to get this done.”

The Suns have played at downtown Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena since 1992, when it opened as the Air West Center. The team and the city are in a 40-year lease for the arena, but the Suns but can opt at 30 years if the venue is deemed obsolete. For the 2017-18 season, Talking Stick Resort Arena is the sixth-oldest in the NBA and some of the venues that predate it–including Minnesota’s Target Center and Utah’s Vivint Smart Home Arena–recently underwent major renovations.

RELATED STORIES: Phoenix Ends Talking Stick Resort Arena Renovation DiscussionsPhoenix Mayoral Candidates Speak Out Against Talking Stick Resort Arena RenovationPhoenix Suns: No Plans to Share Arena With CoyotesSuns, Arizona Coyotes Working on Arena Plans

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