Local News

Wake County Commissioners to Discuss Funding for Proposed Arena

Posted December 16, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— Wake County commissioners will met Monday to discuss snags in the plan to build a proposed $132 million multi-purpose arena in Raleigh.

This round belonged to county commissioners who debated whether to sink more revenue from hotel room taxes into the arena, a plan that Raleigh City Council members must also approve and one which Mayor Tom Fetzer opposes.

According toThe News & Observer, a majority of commissioners say they do not support giving an extra $60 million for the project.

Whether that's true or not, no decision was forthcoming from the meeting by 6 p.m. Monday.

Commissioner Leo Tew told WRAL TV5 News that there will be an arena, but it probably won't house an expansion hockey team.

Project Director Sims Hinds says his people are still trying to move forward because only two of the nine cities competing for the new team have funding in place.

For the arena to open in early 1999, construction must start this spring.

The funding squabble has irked Felix Sabates Jr., who has been leading a group of investors who want to lure a professional hockey expansion team to Raleigh. The team would play in the proposed new arena, and Sabates said he had been assured that funding for the arena was not in doubt. That uncertainty prompted Sabates to threaten a pullout by the investment group. Several other Southeast cities, including Nashville and Norfolk, are bidding for expansion franchises.

The next step here, according to Tew, is for county commissioners to meet with city council for further discussion.

Representatives of the investors say time is running short, but funding could still come from elsewhere.