Orwall bill would reinvest money dedicated to Safeco Field, Quest Field, to jump start economy
February 21, 2011 · 11:54 AM
A measure aimed at stimulating economic development and promoting tourism in King County was introduced late last week by state Rep. Tina Orwall, (D-Des Moines).
Backed by the business community, restaurateurs and labor unions, Orwall’s bill (HB 1997), introduced Feb. 18, would reinvest revenue streams currently dedicated to Safeco Field and Qwest Stadium to support arts and cultural programs, the expansion of the Washington State Convention Center and workforce housing, as well as other projects to spur tourism countywide and return benefits to the community.
"Maintaining and increasing the tourism industry is critical to strengthening our economy,” Orwall said. “Cities and towns throughout King County are excellent destinations for visitors traveling from domestic locations and from across the globe, so it only makes sense to invest in construction and infrastructure, support an environment where the arts and culture flourish and prosper, and develop the hospitality and service sectors to bring more tourists to Washington state.”
The bill was met with enthusiasm.
“Every visitor we bring to King County spends money and provides revenues needed to support human services, housing, public safety, and transportation," said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Specifically, four projects are included in the legislation:
· $3 million/year from 2012 to 2020 would go to 4Culture, King County’s Cultural Development Authority, which provides programs, financial support and services in the arts, public art, heritage and historic preservation.
· $5 million/year from 2012 to 2020 would go to the development of affordable housing for people working in the tourism, hospitality or related service industry.
· $1 million/year would go to the Community Development and Preservation Authority Account to support tourism-related programs in the neighborhoods near Safeco and Qwest fields.
· The remainder of revenue streams available would go to support the expansion of the Washington State Convention Center, which has had to turn away business and lose jobs because it has reached capacity. The Center has plans for an expansion to attract additional visitors to the region, which will increase employment and tax revenue.