A $30-million practice facility will be built for the Toronto Raptors at Exhibition Place after Council came to a 38-2 vote on Aug. 25, per CityNews.ca.
Raptors practice facility pic.twitter.com/aP4wvUd0pN— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) August 22, 2014
Who were the two lone opposing votes?
Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford. I guess Ford's of a feather flock together.
The Raptors will have exclusive rights to use two-thirds of the building, while the other third will be open to community basketball teams and leagues through the City's parks department.
That doesn't sit well with the Fords, though. Rob and Doug wanted Toronto Community Housing Residents to be assured guaranteed time (at least 10 per cent) so that they may use the courts as well.
"You know what, they've [Council] just insulted every kid in Toronto Community Housing," Rob said after the vote. "The most underprivileged kids in the city should have the right immediately, not play political games and send it to the city manager."
"This was a consideration to help out the kids that need it the most." (per Don Peat of the Toronto Sun)
Regardless of their reasoning, plans for the facility will move forward. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will cover the operating cost, paying an annual rent fee that would start at $205,000.
"This is a good day for everybody" MLSE president and CEO Tim Leiweke on @raptors practice facility #TOpoli pic.twitter.com/PeGKSqklSJ— Don Peat (@reporterdonpeat) August 20, 2014
Let's forget that he's leaving MLSE in a year for just a moment and give credit to Tim Leiweke for facilitating this process and getting the wheels in motion.
As Michael Grange points out for Sportsnet.ca, getting a practice facility for the Raptors was "nearly an obsession" for Leiweke. It was also one of the first things he discussed with Masai Ujiri while bringing him over from the Denver Nuggets.
"I told him that if I didn't get it done he could have my first born and he could leave and I'd have to pay him forever."
It couldn't have been easy to convince the board--let alone Toronto City Council--that this would all be a sound investment, yet Leiweke has pulled it off.