There’s never been a more exciting time to be in Inglewood. Construction is well underway on the $2.6 billion home of the Rams and Chargers. The Forum is bringing the music industry’s greatest talent to our city. Now, the L.A. Clippers are looking to build a new privately funded arena, practice center and related facilities in the City of Champions.
To start the process, we signed an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) identifying 80 acres for study – more than four times what the Clippers needed. Opponents claimed that the City was interested in taking people’s homes. Nothing could be farther from the truth. City officials simply identified an area for study to begin the process. As a result, we worked closely with the L.A. Clippers to bring about and approve a revised ENA that included a significantly smaller project site – one that excludes any private homes and churches.
With all this in mind, I need to call a time out. I am concerned about the harsh rhetoric and misinformation campaign being waged. I believe there are non-residents who, because of their own self-interests, are trying to stop or side-track the arena project before it gets started. Sadly, I suspect that some of these outsiders are the same individuals who advocated strongly to move the Lakers and Kings out of Inglewood in the first place.
The L.A. Clippers have told us they are committed to a public and transparent process for all discussions about the arena complex. We expect the team to host community meetings to hear directly from you. Rest assured, the people of Inglewood will have ample opportunities to voice their feelings on this project. What’s important to keep in mind is that the ENA is a starting place – the equivalent of a tip-off at the start of a basketball game.
Together, as the environmental review process transpires, the City Council, Inglewood residents and businesses will play an important role in influencing a project that will benefit our community.
We are in a time of transition with sports facility construction impacting some of us; however, in a few years the fruits of our labor will deliver much-needed increases in general fund revenue that will result in more robust city services. The L.A. Clippers’ new facility, while not yet approved by the City Council, would continue the tremendous economic boom to Inglewood. But, since the possibility of such a move was first announced in June, some residents and others have expressed concerns about what this arena project might mean for them.
As I indicated last month, the City Council’s first responsibility is to ensure the continued progress of our great city. This desire to control our own destiny means creating good-paying job opportunities for our residents. The Clippers will not just be building an arena in our city; they will be moving their permanent offices and facilities here, which means bringing year-round business operations to Inglewood. The arena project will also mean construction jobs, employment in security and concessions,too. Equally important, the arena will generate increased foot traffic for Inglewood’s restaurants, and retail stores. In sum, by building the LA. Clippers arena, our entire community benefits.
Inglewood has long been denied amenities and public benefits enjoyed by neighboring communities. We lack rail connectivity. We have been denied major retailers and corporate headquarters. Decades ago, the two professional sports team that brought pride and prestige to Inglewood were taken from us. We began turning this situation around with the Rams relocation plans. The L.A. Clippers’ proposed arena project is another positive development. Today is a new era in Inglewood. My colleagues on the City Council and I are focused on controlling our own destiny. We will create jobs.We will engineer economic opportunities. We will continue to build community pride.
I look forward to the coming months when the L.A. Clippers will begin hosting community meetings to share more information about their arena and related facilities. Later this year, I look forward to seeing what a state-of-the-art basketball-only arena will look like. Most of all, I look forward to exploring the many ways that building and operating a new team facility will benefit the hard-working men, women and children of Inglewood.