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The arena plan

Plans by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to construct a hockey and entertainment arena downtown prompted some residents to voice concerns over parking and traffic. The ensuing negotiations show the importance of having neighborhood organizations to coordinate and amplify such responses.

Even before hearing public comment at a special city council meeting Dec. 5, the city made 81 planning recommendations to the tribe, according to a Jan. 14 story in the Desert Sun. (Subscription required to read the story.) The tribe reportedly accepted most of the recommendations but did not agree to put all required parking spaces on site and to redirect patrons away from city parking lots and garages. The tribe also rejected a request to avoid scheduling events during other major city events.

At the Dec. 5 meeting, the council voted unanimously to issue a conformity report to the tribe for the arena, with certain conditions added. One condition was, “Schedule and hold regular stakeholder meetings with area Neighborhood Organizations, neighboring Homeowners Associations, and downtown merchants to address issue relative to the development and operation of the arena facility.”