Kings representative meets with Natomas neighbors to discuss future of Sleep Train Arena

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NATOMAS, Calif. (KTXL) -- The Sleep Train Arena is pretty sleepy these days.

“It hasn’t been used for quite some time,” said Brandy Tuzon Boyd, who is the co-founder of Sacramento-area community group We Want a Zoo.

Three years after the Sacramento Kings abandoned the building to move downtown, the team’s owners are working on a new plan for the space.

“There’s a lot of different things we’ve looked at,” said Kings Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jeffrey Dorso.

Dorso shared his vision at a community meeting in Natomas Monday night. He said the massive 180-acre lot could be used for any number of things, from an amusement park to a college campus to a major medical facility.

“I think the community will do a good job of holding their feet to the fire on promises made about a destination component, about this being something we all go back to, remember bigger than basketball,” said Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby.

Some neighbors are certain about what they would like to see replace the old arena -- the new location for the Sacramento Zoo.

It’s an idea the zoo itself has been exploring over the last year that would allow for more space for the animals and more parking for guests than the Land Park location.

“We’re just hoping that there’s some room for a compromise, an opportunity for the city and the Kings to keep their promise to our community and for the potential of the zoo to have a new home,” Tuzon Boyd said.

Dorso said a zoo is still a possibility but they’re exploring all options. He admitted they’ll be looking for a profitable business move when considering uses for the land.

“It’s kind of let’s see a whole bunch of different things,” said neighbor Krissie Goetz. “Retail is something I can say I don’t really care to have.”

Some neighbors were concerned over a rezoning application submitted to the city last month to allow for housing units and retail on the property. But Dorso said they are just trying to keep their options open.

It's good news for neighbors who still have hope the project could be a game-changer for Natomas.

“I’ve been to concerts at Golden 1, I’ve eaten at the restaurants, and so I know my community made a big sacrifice for that to happen. And I think it’s time for us to have something here to shine,” Tuzon Boyd said.

The city of Sacramento commissioned a feasibility study to see if the Sleep Train Arena would be a good fit for the zoo. A spokesperson with the Sacramento Zoo told FOX40 it’s still one of the sites they’re looking into.

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