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Group Calling for Palm Springs Arena Environmental Study


A group is calling for a proposed Palm Springs arena on tribal land to undergo an environmental study, believing that a project of its scope requires a thorough review.

To be built as part of a partnership between Oak View Group (OVG) and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the $250-million, privately financed arena is slated to be constructed on tribal land in downtown Palm Springs. It will host an AHL expansion team, along with a number of other events, including concerts, family shows, and more.

The arena, which will offer a capacity of over 11,000 for certain events, has been scheduled to open in 2021, with the AHL team beginning play that fall. As the planning process for the venue continues, a group known as Palm Springs Together is calling for an environmental impact report on the project, recently taking out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times that laid out its case in an open letter to California governor Gavin Newsom.

Founder Cary Brazerman says that Palm Springs Together is not anti-arena, but that the group is concerned because it believes the scope and location of the venue warrants a study. Still, the group has threatened to take legal action if the proposal moves forward without a review. It has been said, though, that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians believes it is exempt from the Tribal Environmental Act because it is a sovereign nation. More from NBC Palm Springs:

“We’re not anti-arena I mean we just want the right size arena in the right location,” says Brazeman….

The Tribe did release a statement over the summer announcing their intent to do an environmental impact review, but Asst. City Attorney Marcus Fuller says the Tribe determined they as a sovereign nation they are exempt from the Tribal Environmental Act.

Brazeman says if the project goes on as is without the study they will file a lawsuit against the state and city.

In a statement, the city said that it continues to work with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to resolve any concerns that arise from the project. However, it also noted that the tribe is lead agency on the project because the arena is being proposed for tribal land. From NBC Palm Springs:

“We understand the community’s concern for, and interest in, the Tribe’s proposed Arena. The City of Palms Springs shares in the goals of always working in the best interests of the residents, businesses and the region. To that end, the City held a public meeting on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ proposed arena on Dec. 5 to hear the community’s concerns. We have forwarded our recommendations to the Tribe for review. We are working with the Tribe and Oak View on these issues, and appreciate the ongoing discussions, although as the proposed development sits on Tribal land they are the government entity responsible for this project.”

The AHL announced in late September that it had awarded a Palm Springs expansion franchise to OVG and NHL Seattle, which will serve as the parent of the Palm Springs team. Palm Springs will be the AHL’s 32nd team, and is expected to begin play in the 2021-22 season.

Renderings via

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