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Petition to block hockey arena submitted to Henderson

An effort to effectively put Henderson’s minor league hockey arena project on the ballot in November took a step forward Thursday.

Opponents of the project turned in petition signatures to City Hall in an attempt to block the project. According to a Twitter account for the effort, opponents collected just more than 3,000 signatures.

“We’re excited to be able to present this to the city and the community as an opportunity to vote on this issue,” said John Dalrymple, spokesman for a group of opponents that calls itself the Henderson Coalition for Responsible Government.

Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards confirmed the city received the signatures Thursday morning and would deliver them to the Clark County registrar of voters for verification.

Last month, opponents, including Dalrymple, filed paperwork to kick off an initiative to amend the city charter with language that would bar Henderson from using public money on an arena to replace the Henderson Pavilion at Green Valley and Paseo Verde parkways.

To move forward, the group needs roughly 2,100 valid signatures from registered Henderson voters.

If the group gets the necessary number of verified signatures, the City Council would have an opportunity to adopt the language in the initiative. If it gets voted down, the language would go to Henderson ballots in November.

However, the City Council approved the arena project last month. The $84 million cost of the arena will be split evenly between the city and the Vegas Golden Knights, which owns the minor league hockey team that would play home games at the venue.

Construction is slated to begin this summer.

It is unclear how the project would be affected if the initiative makes its way to the ballot. Richards said the arena project will move forward as planned during the initiative process.

“That’s not right,” Dalrymple said. He called plans to move forward with the project an “affront” to the democratic process. Everyone should have a opportunity to vote on the issue, Dalrymple said.

The arena project has been met with fierce opposition from some since it was announced at Henderson’s State of the City address in February. People have complained about traffic and spending public money on the project during a time of economic uncertainty. Dalrymple said his group is not anti-arena, but says the pavilion location is inappropriate.

Henderson has said spending money on an arena would help recover from an economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus by putting people to work.

Building a multi-use arena would give the city a place to host events year-round, including performances by the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, according to the city. Officials have also said the pavilion is limited as an open-air venue and plagued with issues.

Though Henderson approved a total project budget of $84 million, a design and construction team approved this month will complete the project for no more than $70 million.

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

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