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Palm Desert city leaders seek public input while raising concerns over Coachella Valley Arena project

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Architectural renderings show the sleek new $250 million Coachella Valley Arena, a sports and entertainment complex set to break ground in May on land near the Classic Club.

"Great economic benefits are promised. The central is concern is that the project doesn't impose costs that overwhelm the benefits," said Palm Desert Mayor Kathleen Kelly. 

The site is set to become home to a new minor league hockey team, along with hosting more than 1-hundred-60 other sporting and entertainment events a year.

John Bolton is the arena's General Manager.  

"We're ready to award millions of dollars in construction bids, that will add 1,400 jobs to the valley during the construction period starting in May, and once we're open another 420 full time equivalent jobs," said Bolton. 

While the property is adjacent to Palm Desert, Mayor Kelly and City Manager Todd Hileman are concerned about traffic impacts from the site, which is expected to attract one million visitors each year.  

Kelly is worried about straining police and fire crews and the city budget. 

"We need a very thorough assessment of what those impacts will be and how those costs are going to be covered," said Kelly. 

Since the site is unincorporated, it's up to the the Riverside County Planning Commission and ultimately County Supervisors to approve or deny the project.

Bolton says he''s willing to work to address Mayor Kelly's concerns and those of others impacted by the project.

"This project will be a major economic tourism engine not only from Palm Desert, but also the entire Coachella Valley," said Bolton. 

The General Manager says the site will be staffed with its own police, fire safety and EMT crews to respond to incidents.

He also contends similar venues average "one to two calls a month" for help from public crews.

Bolton and County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez will be among those participating in a virtual town hall Monday afternoon at 4:00 hosted by the city of Palm Desert, where public comment is welcomed.



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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.


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