At the December 1, 2015 Sacramento City Council Meeting, the council, in a unanimous vote, approved plans to include a Major League Soccer Stadium (MLS) in the Sacramento Railyard development between downtown Sacramento and Natomas.
The development offers another great opportunity for economic and cultural development for the Capitol City. There is an estimated $180 million cost that will provide jobs, local contracts, and revenue to the Sacramento area during construction and an estimated $1.24 billion estimated economic activity to continue through the following 30 years.
The stadium opening is planned to open in March of 2018 and promises to bring 700 local jobs. This plan was unopposed by any public attendees and supported by the entire room when Council member Allen Warren asked supporters and opponents to stand.
The only issue brought to attention is the need for additional funding of the Sacramento Police Department at a time when the city is planning two new sports and entertainment venues. The President of the Police commission stated, “consider layoffs and 90 open positions in the police department, crime is up, retention is low, and pay is too low, please consider 13% pay raise, the current salary is 24% below regional standard.”
Sacramento Republic Soccer is Sacramento’s home soccer team. Republic has been in Sacramento for two years and is in the process of becoming a Major League Soccer team. City Council member Steve Hansen stated that, “Soccer has been a grassroots effort in Sacramento, built from the ground up.” Council member Larry Carr had one comment, “No brainer…I like it.” City Council member Allen Warren addressed the concern about affordable housing in the greater railyard development that the soccer stadium will be a part of in 2018. He stated that, “the railyard development will include mixed incomes. The will be affordable housing.”
The firm Sac soccer and entertainment league soccer will be responsible for the project. They estimate the city’s weighted cost to $46 million in previously sunk costs that prepared the land for development. Developers promise to assume all maintenance, operations, and capital expenditures. In addition to the convenient access to regional transit, major freeways (Interstate 80, Interstate 5, Hwy50), and the Sacramento train station; developers promise ample parking.
Tuesday night’s city council meeting had three objectives for this project; to approve a preliminary term sheet, to establish a multi-year project, increase the General Fund transient occupancy tax budget by $100,000, and establish a $100,000 General Fund expenditure. Transient taxes are taxes collected from local hotels, motels, and lodging (City of Sacramento, 2015). The project plan passed Tuesday night by a unanimous vote of the city council and the public.
This project provides an excellent opportunity for economic development in Sacramento. It provides a strong center to the new development to the 244-acre site (Sacramento, 2015). This encourages development and investment from small moderate sized businesses; restaurants, coffee, and larger developers; grocery and lodging. Having regular large-scale events require adequate local amenities and services that support the local neighborhood in addition to the regional economic activity of the stadium and other larger developments. Sacramento’s support of local sports teams like the Sacramento Kings and River Cats show how these teams can build community and the economy. City Council’s intent is to support development based on community.