Community information meetings taking place ahead of Coyotes entertainment district vote

Supporters of the Tempe entertainment district that'll be home to the Arizona Coyotes held a special meeting to reach out to voters and explain the details.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 8:22 PM MST
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TEMPE (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Arizona Coyotes are full-steam ahead with their plan to build a sports and entertainment district in Tempe, and team representatives continued their community information sessions on Thursday night.

The latest session took place at The Shop Beer Co. in Tempe, serving as a chance for the Coyotes organization and others in favor of the district to share their visions and answer any questions voters in Tempe might have. “I’m not a big hockey fan,” Tempe resident Paul Kent said at the meeting. “What I’m most looking forward to is the long-term benefits to the city of Tempe and to the residents of the city of Tempe. The revenue stream that’s going to come through the taxes.”

Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez says when it comes to the over $2 billion proposed district, taxpayer involvement, or more specifically, the lack thereof, is the biggest misconception. It’s one he’s looking to clear up by educating Tempe residents about Propositions 301, 302, and 303.

“There have been questions around what does this do to my property tax?” Gutierrez said. “It doesn’t change it at all. What does this do in terms of the money we have to put up to remediate that landfill? You will not have to do that.”

The three ballot propositions revolve around voters deciding if the city should sell the 46 acres of land currently used as a landfill to the Coyotes and if the land will be re-zoned from commercial to mix-used.

Some people in Tempe question what that means for the city moving forward. “I’m against it based on history,” Judy Tapscott said at last November’s city council meeting. “Never asked for this development. It’s a high risk.” “Are we going to have enough police officers to accommodate the traffic?” another resident asked at that meeting. “Are we going to have enough firefighters to respond to the drunk people passing out at a hockey game?”

Gutierrez has this message to those people: come to one of the information sessions. “We want to be known as someone who is going out into the community, extending our hands,” he said. “To really help them be informed.”

Gutierrez says there will be more information sessions before that May 16 vote. For people living in Tempe, it’s also important to note that you must be registered to vote by April 17. You can do that here.

Tempe 1st is an all-volunteer group of Tempe residents opposed to the Coyotes project and will hold its next public event on March 25 from 4-7 p.m. Tap/click here for details.