Chamber supports Tacoma Dome renovation bond levy

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber (TPCC) has passed a Resolution, brought to its Board of Directors by the Public Affairs Council, endorsing Proposition One to be on the ballot in the coming primary election, September 20, 2005.

On behalf of the TPCC, its Chair of the Board, and President of Moss Adams Barbara N. Mead, along with TPCC’s President and CEO David Graybill, have expressed TPCC’s Board of Directors support for a continuation of the current bond levy that created the Tacoma Dome in 1983. The $44 million resulting from the renewal of this bond would be used to renovate the existing facility. Specifically the bond would provide for a new sound and lighting system, expand its concourse, upgrade seat comfort and sightlines, improve restrooms and locker rooms, enhance electrical, mechanical and plumbing, improve the Dome’s Exhibition Hall, create a new marquee on I-5 as well as provide for undercover ticket sales.

Under Proposition One, the present property tax would remain at 21.8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For the average assessed home in Tacoma, this represents only $39.48 annually per household or $3.29 per month.

The Chamber agrees planned facility improvements would significantly enhance the Tacoma icon and enable it to be more competitive in the concert and event industry by improving the guest experience, increasing operating efficiencies, creating new revenue over time, and improving marketability of the facility, according to a statement released yesterday. Improvements are said to allow for retention of existing sports and special events being enticed by more amenable facilities outside the community.

“This project is vital to the competitiveness of our community,” Mead said. “It has low financial impact on citizens, with positive impacts on economic development in our community. This project simply makes sense.”

The Chamber believes the current plan is a reasonable compromise from an initial more extensive remodeling program that will allow the current bond rate to be maintained while enabling the facility to be more attractive for future private sector investments. The plan also complements the proposed Harold E. LeMay Museum.

“The largest wooden dome structure in the world is right here in Tacoma. The Chamber wants to ensure this icon remains for future generations to enjoy and be proud of,”” Graybill said. “More importantly, we want Tacoma to remain on the map in the entertainment industry. In order to do that, it needs a revitalized facility that will continue to draw sports stars, popular musicians, exhibitions and shows to it.”

The Tacoma Dome currently provides about $4 million in revenue for the City of Tacoma, produces 550 jobs with more than $12 million in total wages in the community. More than $21 million is directly captured by local businesses. The total economic impact of the Tacoma Dome is $42 million annually.

The Chamber urges the City Council and its staff to closely monitor potential cost overruns to the renovation of the Tacoma Dome when Proposition One passes.