Back when Kings President Chris Granger met with the editorial board in August, he pledged the team would seek input from the public in designing a sports and entertainment complex for downtown.
Granger seemed to be sincere in that pledge. That’s why we wrote on Aug. 4: “With $258 million in public funds involved – mostly from future parking revenue – the community needs to be a full partner in vetting possible designs. It should accept nothing less.”
So imagine our surprise last week when Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive announced that he was about to unveil a preferred concept for the arena. Ranadive envisions a glass-sided pavilion with an “indoor-outdoor feature” that would allow 10,000 people to watch events from the outside, with another 18,000 inside.
It’s a tantalizing concept. But it also suggests that the basic design of the facility is somewhat set, with virtually no public involvement. After we raised this question to the Kings organization on Thursday, the team sent out a press release announcing plans for a public survey, small group workshops and an open house at City Hall to get feedback on design issues.
That sounds promising, but it raises the question: Will the public really be involved with the design of a sports and entertainment complex they are helping to finance? Or are these planned surveys, workshops and meetings just window dressing?
We hope the Kings organization can dispel any cynicism. It needs to. As an adjoining editorial notes, there’s a large contingent of opponents who are pushing for a public vote on the arena. That contingent will only grow larger if the Kings make plans to plunk down a spaceship in downtown Sacramento, with little citizen input or consideration of how it will mesh with the rest of downtown.