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Henderson OKs $1.2M more for Silver Knights practice arena

Updated July 7, 2020 - 9:30 pm

The Henderson City Council voted Tuesday to spend an additional $1 million on a downtown hockey facility.

Council members who were present unanimously approved spending an additional $1.2 million on Lifeguard Arena, the future headquarters and practice arena of the Henderson Silver Knights. The money will be used on fixtures, furnishings, equipment and modifications, according to city records. Councilwoman Michelle Romero was absent.

Approval of the spending brings the city’s total investment in the project to $15.15 million. When the arena was approved last year, the city agreed to pay $10.75 million. In April, the council voted to spend an extra $3.2 million to cover additions that would benefit the minor league hockey team.

Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights, which owns the minor league team, agreed to pay $10.75 million on Lifeguard Arena.

The public will have access to events such as tournaments, youth camps and “play hockey for free” events. City officials see the arena being a catalyst for activity downtown.

Henderson has faced criticism for its contribution of public money to Golden Knights-related projects. Multiple people submitted public comment to oppose the additional spending.

“Just about the time the taxpayers of Henderson think its officials are finished throwing money around for what can realistically be considered ‘non-essential,’ we get a fresh surprise,” resident Carolyn Jones wrote to the city. “It is as if you are completely disregarding the current unemployment crisis, COVID-19 escalation in this state and budgetary shortfalls at all levels of government.”

City spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said officials see the project as “a winning investment” because it leverages private money for a city-owned building.

An arena approved by the City Council in May has received the vast majority of pushback. The arena will replace the Henderson Pavilion, which the city said is plagued with issues.

The new arena will host Silver Knights home games and be a hub for community events.

Under the agreement with the Golden Knights, the team and city will split the total project budget of $84 million evenly.

An effort to block the publicly backed arena from replacing the Henderson Pavilion came to a halt last week due to a procedural error on a ballot initiative petition. A group of residents opposing the project filed paperwork on Thursday to appeal the city’s finding.

Officials expect Lifeguard Arena to open its doors to the public in early October.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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