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Statement from Councilman Michael Nowakowski on Vote to Renovate Talking Stick Resort ArenaStatement from Councilman Michael Nowakowski on Vote to Renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena<div class="ExternalClass5E35F11EF6C34D829CF5831D80853D94"><p>​“Yesterday, I voted in support of the Talking Stick Resort Arena renovations, which passed on a 6-2 vote. </p><p>When the renovations were first brought before the City Council, I was concerned over the lack of transparency and public understanding. I requested a continuance and required five community meetings be held across the city. This gave us the opportunity to hear from our constituents. We received so much positive feedback over these community meetings. So many residents told us they opposed the renovations until they learned the details of the deal and were given an opportunity to ask questions. While there was overwhelming support for the renovations, I also heard from residents who expressed concern over our funding for public safety and homelessness. This process provided the City Council with feedback that helped shape today’s vote.</p><p>After listening to my constituents, I required three specific actions from city staff. First, I required that 80% of the revenue generated from the arena remain dedicated to public safety for the duration of the agreement. I also requested that the additional $1.5 million in annual revenue generated by the lease will be used to support issues relating to homelessness and public safety in our neighborhoods. Finally, I requested that the city’s Chief Financial Officer determine if it’s feasible to utilize $5 million from the Sport’s Facility Fund to help offset public safety pension costs. Our residents voiced their concerns over these issues at every meeting I attended and I wanted to ensure their voices were heard and reflected in this agreement.</p><p>As the owner of the arena, I agree we are responsible for the infrastructure of the arena. I also agree that it’s our responsibility to ensure that every city dollar is spent appropriately throughout this process. Because of this I demanded that the City have its own representative to directly oversee the City’s expenditures and provide regular updates to the City Council. </p><p>Talking Stick Resort Arena is an economic driver for Downtown Phoenix and the entire City. For the last 11 years, I have represented a thriving portion of downtown Phoenix  and have seen first hand the positive impact the arena has had on our community. Not only does the arena generate $12.8 million annually in revenue for the City, it also employs more than 1,000 people.  The Phoenix Suns remain a point of civic pride for our residents, which is why it was important that I asked for a commitment from the Suns to retain the name “Phoenix Suns.” The Talking Stick Resort Arena has been instrumental to the success and growth of Downtown Phoenix and it will continue to serve a vital role in the future. For these reasons, I voted yes.”<br></p><p><br></p></div>1/24/2019 3:00:00 PMNick Valenzuela602-495-5405