This is an artist’s sketch of what the Santa Cruz Warriors’ new arena would look like. The Arena would be located at 140 Front St., in between the downtown and beach areas of Santa Cruz. (Provided photo)
The Santa Cruz City Council voted unanimously late Wednesday night to approve permits that pave the way for construction of an arena that would be the future home of the Santa Cruz Warriors basketball team.
About 12:40 a.m. Thursday, the council members in attendance voted unanimously on the financial terms of the deal.
The vote was 6-0 both times, with Tony Madrigal absent from the meeting.
It was a lengthy 5-hour, 44-minute council session, as the Warriors and council discussed the many concerns that remained in building the approximately 30,000 square-foot arena on 140 Front St..
The arena would house about 3,000 fans during Warriors games and about 4,000 during non-basketball events.
Many of the concerns were in relation to traffic. Several residents who spoke during the meeting were worried that fans coming to fill the arena during Warriors games as well as other non-basketball events at the arena would clog an already-busy part of town.
The council met Wednesday night after it delayed the meeting 24 hours because of a letter threatening a lawsuit if the council approved the project.
Councilmembers met in private at 1 p.m. Wednesday to decide what to do. Two hours later, it concluded the threat wasn’t valid and decided to hold a meeting later that night.
Dozens of residents spoke during Wednesday night’s meeting, including many from the Beach Hill area of Santa Cruz. Concerns ranged from the town supposedly losing its small-town charm to noise levels getting out of control.
The vibe was much different online. The council said it received 180 emails during the public hearing, with 145 supporting the arena and 23 disapproving of it. Twelve emails were neutral.
At press time, the council, led by Mayor Don Lane, discussed details on the ins and outs of the arena. The council members said the city and Warriors must make all efforts to have fans park in the downtown area.
Lane said he would also have two council members work with residents of the Beach Hill area to make sure fans don’t park in that area. There were thoughts of eliminating the metered parking in the area and making the region permit-required year round. Lane suggested that the meters be bagged during Warriors games, but permits would be required to park in those areas.
The council, for the most part, praised the plan, saying it would be good for the city. But it also said it would take community concerns into consideration.
“It revitalizes an area that needs it,” said councilman Ryan Coonerty. “It connects the beach and downtown. The benefits far exceed the impacts.”
Don Webber, representing the Beach Hill Neighbors Association, said residents in the area had many concerns and urged the council to take more time.
“We’re not deal killers,” Webber told the council. “We’re the ones that already suffer from the negative effects of tourism.”
For the complete article see the 09-13-2012 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-13-2012 paper.
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