Like it or not, the AHL is coming to Henderson and a 6,000 seat arena will be built on the site of the existing Henderson Pavilion. Many Henderson residents have voiced their opinions over the past few months since the project was announced. Yesterday, the City of Henderson conducted a “virtual town hall” in which they attempted to respond to as many of the concerns their citizens have over the project.
The two-hour town hall, which was hosted virtually using Cisco Webex, took on concerns over traffic, infrastructure, parking, job creation, timing, building operations, and a few more topics.
The most time was spent on traffic, an issue that was of major concern when the city hosted three consecutive public meetings back in March. The city’s presented solution was initially to build a tunnel to alleviate traffic coming and going from the arena, but that idea was nixed and now they believe any traffic congestion can be solved with the installation of new “adaptive” traffic lights.
An expert spent about 20 minutes explaining the benefits of the modern traffic lights that respond to traffic patterns in real-time.
Increasing people in the area drives an increase in traffic and congestion. The real solution to that is adaptive traffic signals which control the flow of traffic. The signals detect the presence of vehicles at the stop line and approaching the intersections. This system then allows progression through that road network. -Ian Machen, CEO of Ludian (traffic signal expert)
The other topic that took up the majority of the presentation was parking. A study showed that a 6,000 seat stadium would need about 1,200 to 1,400 on-site parking spaces to accommodate all attendees and arena employees.
They indicated that not only can they fit that number of spaces in the existing area, but they can do it without the construction of a multi-level parking structure and without disturbing the nearby library or multigenerational center.
We looked at the event venue itself and the area around it as to what is the availability. We generally tested out the square footage and land area and determined that depending on landscaping and the configuration of the roadways that there is the feasibility in the planning level of obtaining 1,200 to 1,400 car spaces with the border of the site. -Ken Ackeret, Principal of Kimley Horn (parking expert)
In addition to the town hall, the city released an economic impact study conducted by Applied Analysis to show the job creation that will result from the construction of the arena.
The study says the arena will generate $142 million in economic impact during construction and between $17 and $26 million annually when in operation. It also claims construction will create 1,017 full-time jobs paying more than $38 million and operation will create between 159 and 234 jobs annually paying between $6-$9 million per year.
The presentation also touched on the size of the building. Their hope is to retain as much of the open space and trails currently existing on at the Henderson Pavilion while accomodating the new building and parking lots.
Here's the City of Henderson's outline of the size of the proposed new AHL arena at the Henderson Pavilion. pic.twitter.com/9gmAdJOlwn
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) May 6, 2020
The one piece of information that was absent from the presentation was the financial responsibility the city would be taking on. In April, the Henderson City Council approved the issuance of $60 million in bonds to finance, among other projects, the new arena. When asked about the bonds or anything relating to the finances of the project (aside from job creation and increase in surrounding property values) residents were pointed towards this three-minute video released prior to the meeting in which the bonds were approved.
Historically, publicly financed stadiums and arenas have not been viewed as strong investments for cities by economists.
At the April 21st meeting in which the bonds were approved, many detractors challenged the issuance of the bonds via comment as the meeting was held virtually. The same occurred at yesterday’s virtual town hall.
Nonetheless, the majority of concerns held by Henderson residents were addressed in the town hall. Plus, the city has set up this website to update residents on news and answer any other questions surrounding the new arena.
The construction of the arena is set to be approved by the Henderson City Council on May 19th and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.