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Henderson residents push back on minor league hockey arena plan

Some Henderson residents are pushing back on a proposal for an arena that would host minor league hockey.

About a dozen residents voiced concerns last week at a Henderson City Council meeting. Some raised issues with a lack of communication in the process and expressed fears about how it will change the face of the neighborhood.

“We have a lovely, pristine green space on the corner of Green Valley Parkway and Paseo Verde, and once you take a green space out of a city, you can never put it back,” Douglas Stacey told council members Feb. 18. The arena is planned for the site of the Henderson Pavilion.

The pushback comes on the heels of the Vegas Golden Knights announcing at Henderson’s annual State of the City address that it has plans for its future minor league affiliate to play in Nevada’s second-largest city. Mayor Debra March has said the city would pay for half the arena with up to $40 million.

Traffic congestion

The City Council last week heard from the public on the council’s plan to issue bonds to pay for multiple projects, including improvements to the pavilion.

Many attending the meeting took issue with the prospects of increased traffic in the neighborhood. Cole Sondrup told council members that he is concerned more traffic will bring crime. The area is already congested, he told elected officials.

“It is a part of our town that, by all accounts, does not need economic development,” he said.

Laura Sanchez told council members she had concerns about the city making a public investment for a team that may leave.

“We’re signing away our future to a sports team,” she said. “We can love sports as much as you want. It’s still a business.”

Ward 4 Councilman Dan Stewart said that “mistakes have been made” in providing information about the project.

“And this is unfortunate because quite frankly, this council, the executive team, the staff are better than this,” Stewart said. “Actually, we’re much, much better than this.”

More than hockey

Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said the project came together quickly. The Golden Knights publicly announced the purchase of the minor league team one week before the State of the City speech.

Richards said the arena will offer a variety of year-round entertainment.

“Hockey is just a piece of all the great entertainment that we envision happening here,” she said.

Henderson will hold a public meeting March 9 at the Sun City MacDonald Ranch clubhouse, 2020 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway. Presentations will be held at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Michelle Romero, who represents Ward 1, told attendees there has been misunderstanding about the process for approving the project. Officials are at the start of the process, she said.

The council would need to approve a contract with the Knights for the building, Richards said.

Ward 2 Councilman Dan Shaw told attendees that the Henderson Multigenerational Center, police station and Paseo Verde Library would not be torn down to make way for the arena.

Shaw said updated building codes prevent the canopy above the pavilion from being replaced. The cover was damaged in a storm. And seats in the pavilion can’t be replaced because they are no longer made, he said.

“It’s virtually lived its life, and so something has to be done there,” Shaw said.

Residents can leave the city comments about the arena here.

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Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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