Natomas Residents Weigh In on Future of Sleep Train Arena

NATOMAS -- Residents in Natomas want to see new life come to their neighborhood after the building that housed the Sacramento Kings for decades closed its doors in 2016.

"Natomas residents were promised, back when the Kings were looking at moving downtown, that should that occur something would be shovel ready for that space by the time Golden 1 opened," said Natomas resident Brandy Tuzonboyd.

Since the Kings moved downtown, the Sleep Train Arena has sat vacant and now the community is eager for something big to move in.

"What’s really important to those who live in Natomas is that the space becomes an economic engine for the community," Tuzonboyd told FOX40. "That there is something in that location that provides jobs, education opportunities and, hopefully, entertainment for families."

The Kings still own the property and are proposing to rezone the area.

Dozens gathered in city hall to discuss the next steps for the site.

One idea being considered for the space is an expanded Sacramento Zoo. It's something many residents tell FOX40 they can get behind.

"I can’t think of a better use for it then putting an expansion for the zoo in there," said resident Ed Perez.

The other option is a new commercial facility with 2,000 residential units. But if that project moves forward winning the support of the community won’t be easy.

"I mean, in a nutshell, it’s basically more housing, more retail activity and a little bit of mixed use, and we've got plenty of that in Natomas already," Perez said.

Sacramento Senior Planner Scott Johnson says all possibilities are still on the table and the city is welcoming feedback from those in the community.

"There’s no specific development proposed with this project. We hope to get input on ideas and issues that people want to see," he said.

For those living in Natomas, the bar is set high for whatever replaces the Sleep Train Arena.

"(Something that) boosts tourism, gives something for families to do, draws people in from outside of the area," Tuzonboyd said.

A big focus of Thursday night’s meeting was the environmental impacts of the various ideas.

The city will be welcoming public comment on all of this on April 2.

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