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Arena Task Force Praises Indianapolis’ Arena Financing Plan

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – This is the last chance for Sacramento to keep the Kings. And the city of Indianapolis may hold the secret to building a new arena here.

“Sacramento does benefit from being able to look all around the country,” said Chris Lehane of Think Big Sacramento.

After analyzing the hits — and misses — made by other cities with privatized parking, Chris Lehane with the Think Big arena task force says Sacramento will model its arena financing parking plan after a community that did it right.

“I do think ours is going to be a lot more similar to what Indianapolis did; a process that is designed to make sure that the taxpayers are well-represented,” said Lehane.

Lehane says before going private, Indianapolis’ parking garages were a lot like Sacramento’s: in need of upgrades.

“They completely modernized their parking facility, which really benefited the public, but also gave Indianapolis a big chunk of money to transform the city,” said Lehane.

Now Sacramento will try to incorporate specific elements of their plan. According to Lehane, Indianapolis officials used a bidding process to select their parking operator, negotiated a shorter-term lease and included an “opt-out” clause to end the contract if it wasn’t working. Finally, they tried to protect drivers by including rate change protections.

“We do know from the bids that are coming in that people are willing to pay an awful lot of money to lease the public parking,” said Lehane.

Thirteen parking companies submitted proposals here in Sacramento and the top 10 will be presented to city council tonight. With their support, that list of 10 will be submitted to the NBA by March 1.

“What’s going to happen now is that these entities are going to compete with each other, and when they compete, the city will end up getting the best deal possible,” said Lehane.

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