Next Tuesday, March 15, there will be a public meeting at 5:30 at Seattle City Hall for citizens to chime in on how they feel about the proposed SoDo Arena, a stadium from San Francisco developer (but Rainier Valley-raised) Chris Hansen.
The much-delayed stadium project, sometimes dubbed the “Sonics Arena” has been in the works for a number of years and is part of a larger plan to return an NBA franchise to Seattle. (A reason cited for the Sonics relocation to Oklahoma City was that the KeyArena was too small and lacked the proper amenities for the Sonics.)
The SoDo Arena would be built near the International District (ID). (Two blocks of Occidental, south of the Safeco Field parking garage, would be vacated.) We fear that construction of the stadium would disrupt ID businesses, resulting in significant losses to the local community, the effects of which would be long-felt and far-reaching.
Already, the ID is a ghost town on game days because street parking is very hard to come by.
The results of a Port of Seattle survey has been circulating, which states that 75 percent of Seattle voters oppose city support for the SoDo Arena. According to the Port, opposition to the SoDo Arena was consistent across all geographic areas of the city and across all demographic groups.
For us, this is a familiar issue. In 1972, Seattle Asian Americans loudly protested the construction of another stadium — the Kingdome — over fears that game traffic and rising property values would drive out what made the International District unique, it’s residents. This was after the residents protested the construction of the freeway, which split the neighborhood in two.
Over the last few years, local businesses also bore financial losses because of the dragging streetcar construction in Chinatown, with some businesses stating that it was some of the worst years they’ve had.
We urge the developers to consider this neighborhood in their plans, to protect it and help ensure its cultural significance is not diminished.
It’s important for you, our readers, to go to the public hearing next Tuesday and articulate your opinions regarding this arena loudly. It’s important to be heard. (end)