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Team Eyes New Arena

Detroit (ap) — The Detroit Red Wings will get a new arena. It’s not if, but when and yet Chris Ilitch doesn’t know or want to say much about it.

Joe Louis Arena, which is among the oldest NHL facilities, opened in 1979. Four months ago, Michigan lawmakers approved a measure allowing tax dollars collected by the Downtown Development Authority to be used for a $650 million multi-use development that will include a facility for the Red Wings.

The DDA has been allowed for nearly two decades to pay down Detroit’s general obligation bonds with about $12.8 million a year that otherwise would have gone to education

Supporters of the bill claimed it will create upward of 8,300 new construction jobs and pump $1 billion into Michigan’s economy. Opponents of it said funding a private stadium with taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be a priority, especially when that money was otherwise going to the School Aid Fund.

But for Detroit which is under state financial oversight, such a complex is seen as a godsend.

“I think this is a great opportunity, as we continue the process of transforming Detroit,” Mayor Dave Bing said Wednesday in an emailed statement. “This sports complex will not only create thousands of jobs, hopefully for Detroiters, but will also be a major economic benefit to our city.”