It’s ‘Put Up, Shut Up’ Time With Toyota Center ReBuild [OPINION]
Let me make clear: I support a rebuild of the Toyota Center. But Tri-City Americans General Manager Bob Tory is talking like he'll move the team or something if it isn't done next year and the bluffing is getting ridiculous.
The Tri-City Americans are the primary and most profitable tenants in the Toyota Center. They have a right to be upset. The 1988 "colosseum" wasn't ideal when it was built for the team's arrival. The team has been successful enough to deserve a new facility. The aging building has trouble cooling the ice and games have had to be cancelled in recent years because of it. Players hate the ice it builds. Lastly, it's just old (those orange seats are evidence enough!).
To rebuild the Toyota Center money is needed from the City of Kennewick. But can they justify the expense because orange chairs are ugly and the ice isn't enviable? Not this year, they say.
We think they should make the investment. We've got an updated convention center with a new hotel. Yet concerts and shows are passing us by for Yakima's Sun Dome because the Toyota Center's ceiling is too low and it wasn't designed to hold the installments musicians and performers bring with them. If a new center is built, the additional performances it would attract would pay off the investment.
I've heard the ice's cooling system will be completely dead in five years. So this MUST be done.
But for Bob Tory to talk of not signing another long-term lease is just ridiculous. You're going to get a new stadium eventually. You wanted it built the first year you came. You're tired of waiting. But really, there isn't public support this year.
Until the public is behind such an investment, you're not going to see the city stepping up. They will eventually, but bravado and threats this year only make one look foolish.
Photo used with permission courtesy of AridAcres Photography. Purchase prints of the Tri-City Americans or other local attractions from John!