Parking, future of veterans memorial are among concerns for possible arena

Posted at 11:19 PM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-19 23:19:56-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - About 200 people attended a meeting at the Convention Center to discuss the possible development of an arena at the Oceanfront. Parking and the future of Tidewater Veterans Memorial were two of the concerns brought up to the developer and city leaders.

"Will the memorial remain the same?" asked one veteran. "This is a sacred place for many of the veterans' family members," said the widow of a veteran.

The developer, United States Management, LLC, has said the appearance of a park in the memorial could change to better fit in with the new area, complete with a plaza. The CEO was adamant veterans would be involved in the final design plans and the memorial would be respectful.

"We hear what you're saying. We understand your concerns," said Andrea Kilmer. "We've been involved with the veterans community for decades and we plan to actually make sure the dignity and serenity of that sight remains."

No final design plans for the area have been decided. What has been decided is how to pay for the proposed arena. USM will take out a loan with a Chinese bank to finance much of the arena.

The city will contribute by paying for some of the infrastructure costs, like utility lines and parking lots. They'll do that with taxes from tourism, including hotel stays and dining out.

"The arena would be a watershed event at the Oceanfront and will take us to the next level," said Councilman Jim Wood.

The goal is to have big time artists come to the arena, like Pink or Taylor Swift, but with big crowds could come big traffic. The city says it has a plan to handle it, including offering free parking for arena ticket holders at city lots and garages.

City council will vote on the proposed arena on December 8.