Sacramento City Manager John Shirey told City Council members that last night's Kings arena vote was "the most important vote" of their political careers.
After four hours of presentation and comment, the council authorized construction of the $477 million project.
Mayor Kevin Johnson had the final vote on a series of agenda items required to move the arena at Downtown Plaza from planning to construction.
"Long live the Kings!" Johnson shouts during his vote.
The party after the votes actually started outside City Hall hours earlier when NBA supporters did the wave and watched the NBA Draft Lottery (The Kings will draft eighth.)
The first supporter in line to get into the council meeting was Ron Klink from Roseville.
"There's a risk but I think it's a good investment," says Klink. "I think it's well worth what we'll get out of it in the next ten years."
The arena cost is $477 million. The city will pay $223 million up front by issuing bonds for the project.
The biggest risk to taxpayers is whether the City can increase parking revenues to cover its share of the debt -- $715 million by the time the bonds are paid off in 36 years.
The City says it's confident it can meet that challenge. But, arena critics are skeptical. Ron Emslie of Sacramento was against the use of parking revenues to pay for a third of the arena's cost.
"You're gonna stick it to the citizens for parking," says Elmsley. "That comes out of the citizens' back pockets."
Arena opponents were outnumbered in the crowd 7-to-1 and on the council 7-to-2. The arena is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
Preliminary work on demolishing part of the Downtown Plaza mall will begin Wednesday morning.