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Disneyland expansion plan takes another step forward

Disneyland’s proposal to rezone some of its land to make way for new shops, restaurants and hotels took another step forward during Tuesday’s Anaheim City Council meeting.

The council unanimously approved the project at the end of an eight-hour meeting that began Tuesday evening and ended early Wednesday morning. a second council vote for final approval of Disney’s plan is required in May.

Disney says it will invest millions in affordable housing, traffic flow in structure and much more as part of the $1.9 billion proposal.

The city’s planning committee voted to move forward with the plan last month.

Disneyland’s president unveiled the company’s plans to spend $60 billion on theme parks improvements worldwide – urging the council not to miss out on bringing a chunk of the change here to the park that started it all. In front of a packed house at Anaheim city hall Tuesday night, Walt Disney executives made their billion dollar pitch to bring more magic to the Happiest Place on Earth.

“We want to make sure we get part of this investment. We have the space here in Anaheim and the vision. With your support, we can ensure that Disneyland and Anaheim continue to thrive for decades to come,” Disneyland President Ken Potrock said.  

Under the Disneyland forward project, the company guarantees a minimum commitment of $1.9 billion dollars within 10 years to build hotels, restaurants and new attractions like the world of frozen featuring fan-favorite sisters Anna and Elsa of Arrendale. All of it within disney’s existing 490 acre footprint.

In addition, Disney would invest $85 million in road and traffic improvements, $30 million in affordable housing, $10 million in sewer infrastructure and $8 million in city parks.

“I’m proud to share my full support. lives across the street whether people in opposition admit it or not, Disneyland has helped generations of Anaheim residents and visitors the opportunity to live a greater and more beautiful life,” Laura Griggs said. 

A Cal State Fullerton economic impact study estimates the project would add $15 to $244 million dollars to the city’s annual revenue, on top of the estimated $300 million the city says Disneyland already generates.

“I think what you can see is that economic impact is quite powerful, I think economic impact has a ripple effect,” Potrock said. 

But a continued point of contention. “I feel betrayed that magic way is up for sale.,” Cassandra Taylor, a local mother, said.

Selling a small street that some like Taylor use as a shortcut to the parks and to access the 5 Freeway.

“I hope she never sees me sell my voice for less than 2% of the city’s annual city budget. To sell Magic Way is to remove citizens entirely from future conversations in the street’s use,” Taylor said.

Her concerns echoed by roughly 500 people who’ve signed the online petition “save our Anaheim streets from Disneyland forward,” which cites concerns about construction noise, poor air quality, and increased traffic.

“We bought our home 40 yrs ago to have access to Disney and now it’s like being cut off,” said Sonia Herrington, who lives on the West side of Disneyland.

“We need to have that access for our grandchildren going forward,” said Dennis Herrington, who lives on the west side of Disneyland.

Disney assures locals that nearby traffic flow improvements will be made before the Magic Way is altered and the sidewalks aren’t going away.

That guarantee plus 13,000 jobs for Anaheim, enough to get plenty of locals on board.

“Those are quality jobs and they are going to drive something and they pay more than minimum wage and have good benefits.” Creighton Boggs, who lives on the East side of the resort, said. “This is an instance of a give being much more than a take.”

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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