Hundreds of Henderson residents heard details Monday about a proposal to build a minor league hockey arena on the site of the Henderson Pavilion.
The city held presentations at the Sun City MacDonald Ranch clubhouse, 2020 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, to answer questions and try to quell fears about the project, which has received pushback from some who live in the area.
Residents who oppose the arena have said they worry about increased traffic and a large structure changing the neighborhood. Some shouted questions at the end of presentations.
“I hope they don’t rush into something like this,” said Anthony Gawlik, who lives within walking distance of the pavilion. “That’s the main thing. Don’t just say, ‘We’re going to do it,’ and then shove it down our throats.”
The Vegas Golden Knights announced at Henderson’s State of the City address last month that they intend to move their future American Hockey League affiliate to a 6,000-seat arena on the site of the pavilion.
Assistant City Manager Robert Herr conceded Monday that the announcement did not adequately address the community benefits of a new arena. The city has said it could host concerts and other performances.
“Tonight is a lot about listening,” he said. “We don’t have all the answers.”
Herr did not discuss the anticipated cost of the venue with those who attended the meeting, but Mayor Debra March has said the city would pay for half of the arena with up to $40 million in public money. Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said the mayor’s estimate was premature and that the cost has not been determined.
Despite community concern, Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz said a significant number of people are excited about the project. By the end of February, the AHL team had more than 7,000 season ticket deposits.
“But we also understand that there are other folks that have questions and they want to understand the full scope of what’s going to happen,” he said.
City officials say the pavilion, built in 2002, is plagued by failing seats, poor sound quality and a canopy that had to be removed because of damage. And as an open-air venue, it is only usable for part of the year. Henderson has looked at upgrading the pavilion at an estimated cost of about $30 million.
Karen Grudzien said she has no problem with the proposed arena. She likes that she would be able to access entertainment year-round.
“It’ll give us more of a variety,” she said.
Before an arena can be built, the Henderson City Council must approve a contract with the Knights.