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Festive Atmosphere At First Day Of Downtown Plaza Demoliton


Mayor Kevin Johnson shook hands and thanked about 50 construction workers before they began the process of dismantling the east side of the Downtown Plaza Mall.

"Give yourselves a round of applause," Johnson said.

Greg Dornback is with Operating Engineers Local #3. He says he's happy the work has begun.

"It means that our members are going to be working and the equipment's going to be rolling in here and you're going to start seeing some destruction going on here pretty quick.  Good thing for this whole town," Dornback said.

This morning workers in orange vests and white hats carted gloves and hazmat suits into the building as they prepared to remove the interior walls piece by piece. The project has a goal of recycling 99.5 percent of all materials.

Chris Granger is the Kings' President. He says he's excited demolition has started, though he wasn't always confident this day would come.  While the City of Sacramento was trying to keep the team from being moved to Seattle, Granger was working for the National Basketball Association.

"I will tell you where there were weeks where I didn't think this was going to happen when I was at the NBA," Granger says. "There were weeks I was focused more on how to get another market up and going than I was in Sacramento.  And then I spent multiple months here in Sacramento and I think my belief system began to turn."  

There are still three lawsuits pending against the City and the Kings.
Mayor Johnson says the City is "steeled" in its resolve to fight off any challenges.

"The courts will weigh in like they've done along this journey and we've prevailed because what we've done is something that's really proud and nobody's gonna hold this project hostage anymore," says Johnson.

Demolition work is scheduled to be completed in the fall.

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