Lead Story West Edition

Some Inglewood residents say ‘no thanks’ to Clippers arena

INGLEWOOD — Everyone is not on board with a proposed basketball arena in the city that will eventually compliment the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park.

At a public meeting March 12, some concerned residents raised issues with the prospect of the Los Angeles Clippers moving to Inglewood.

Rent increases and traffic congestion were among the many topics that Inglewood residents shared with officials attending the public scope meeting, part of the city’s environmental impact report about the arena. The issue of having the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center on South Prairie Avenue and West Century Boulevard has struck more than a few nerves.

For one, the Forum, which is owned by Madison Square Garden, has filed a lawsuit against Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and the city. They are not the only ones rankled by the prospect of a 17-acre site that will house an 18,000-seat arena for NBA games with an adjourning 85,000-square-foot practice and athletic training facility. Besides the new arena and practice facility, the site would also include a restaurant and an outdoor plaza.

Derek Steele, an Inglewood resident and a member of the Uplift Inglewood Coalition, was among the concerned residents at the March 12 meeting.

“We were mobilizing our members to make sure they knew about this meeting,” Steele said. “You’d be surprised how many people didn’t even know that the city was doing it. The public notices that they gave … they were online. They didn’t really put it out there to let folks know to come on out. This meeting’s purpose it to give community members the opportunity to say what they want addressed in the environmental impact report.

“That’s supposed to be done for this project. We’re actually going to do more than that because there was no forum before they signed the deal with the Clippers to give community members the opportunity to speak their peace on how they felt about the Clippers coming to Inglewood in the first place.”

Roughly two dozen members of the Uplift Inglewood Coalition came out to show their opposition to the new arena with banners and large posters to denounce the plan. Members of the Inglewood City Council were not present during the hearing, which did not allow the public to verbally go on record with their concerns.

Instead, members of the community could speak with city staff members handling a particular concern about the project.

Residents also were encouraged to write down issues about the suggested arena on a place card and turn them in. One resident, who has lived in Inglewood for two years, said she had her rent go up several hundred dollars.

“I’ve experienced rent increase in my own building,” the resident said. “In my apartment, my rent has gone up $375. The arena is the cause. We’re hoping to emphasize to have houses built on the land rather than another arena.”