By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
Amid rumors of Major League Soccer team, Chivas USA, planning on making Santa Ana its new home, the Los Angeles based soccer club is not committed to the city that has promoted their preliminary talks.
Although Chivas has entered into six-month formal negotiations with Santa Ana, General Manager Jose Domene said they are consulting with three other cities and have made no commitment yet. In addition no public statement regarding the clubs discussions with any of the considered cities will be released until a decision has been made.
“You move once, so we have to be very careful,” Domene said. “A lot has been said about exclusive rights or exclusive negotiations, but it is not exclusive.”
The Willowick Golf Course, owned by the city of Garden Grove but located within the City of Santa Ana’s borders, is being considered to house the stadium for Chivas. The 100-acre golf course is the oldest in Orange County.
Chivas currently shares the Home Depot Center in Carson with the LA Galaxy and is in search for a stadium and home of its own. Co-owner Antonio Cué told MLSsoccer.com the team would not move to a city outside of Los Angeles County in July, even though the city of Santa Ana publicly announced the beginning of discussions between the two entities in 2008.
At a recent Garden Grove City Council meeting a concerned group of Santa Ana residents spoke against Mayor Miguel Pulido and the city of Santa Ana’s decision to release a public statement and negotiation agreement expressing their desire to house the soccer club.
“It’s important to let people know what is going on in your community and that is one of the things that trouble’s me about this project; it came up out of the clear blue sky,” former Santa Ana Council Member Patricia Mcguigan said.
Increased traffic, safety hazards and a loss of green recreation space were concerns listed by residents who requested support from Garden Grove and demanded more transparency from Santa Ana.
“We are not against Chivas coming to Orange County. We just think they need to do a better job about citing themselves in a location that makes sense, resident Tim Rush said. “It’s going to have a terrible impact on those residents.”
The majority of Chivas’ talks have been with Santa Ana and not Garden Grove and will remain this way until negotiations are made more exclusive, Domene said.
“Although we are aware of the discussions we don’t have any details as to what that might entail. We are waiting for more information from the city of Santa Ana so we can asses it,” City Manager Matt Fertal said.
Pulido did not return the Garden Grove Journal’s calls to comment.