A proposed $1.9 billion investment to expand Disneyland has created some anxiety in the Anaheim community surrounding the park. At a public forum on Wednesday, April 10, area residents were given their final chance to voice concerns before the Anaheim City Council’s upcoming vote on the project.

Even More of “The Happiest Place on Earth”

Disney’s proposed $1.9 billion investment, which has been called DisneylandForward, targets a 50-acre parking lot near Harbor Boulevard for development. The area would be used for new theme park attractions. The deal also includes the purchase of three public streets by Disney, including Magic Way, which city officials have said is used by as many as ten thousand cars per day. The nearby Hotel District would also be replaced as part of an effort to fill the surrounding area with new hotels and restaurants, as well as entertainment, shopping, and further attractions.

As part of the proposal, Disney must also invest $100 million in the city of Anaheim, money slated for streets, parks, and affordable housing.

Low Wages and High Traffic for Anaheim

In addition to the community members who entered the meeting to voice their concerns, many more protested outside the meeting. Among the community’s concerns was traffic, which has already been a problem for many in the area surrounding the park. The plan proposes bringing as many as 15 million new tourists to the area, as well as creating jobs for 14 thousand more workers. Community members also voiced concern for the low wages of the jobs being created.

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Community activists have criticized that only $30 million of the money going to Anaheim will be used for affordable housing. They pointed to a similar project planned for construction near Florida’s Walt Disney World, where $350 million has been set aside for affordable housing.

The Project Impact Report drafted for the proposal agreed that it would cause increased noise, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and other factors that would impact air quality in the surrounding area.

Long-Term Economic Impacts

A Disney-backed study presented potential economic benefits that the expansion could bring over a five-year period, including an additional $30 million in affordable housing, as well as $8 million for area parks and $40 for street upgrades.

“We have been working with the City and our neighbors for over three years and have followed the process the City has laid out for this Project,” wrote Suzi Brown, Disneyland Resort’s Vice President of Communications, in a Thursday email. “It has been thorough and transparent, and we are ready to move forward and need to start planning for our future.”

Anaheim City Spokesman Mike Lyster argued in favor of the idea, saying, “Our city will grow. Our residents deserve good quality services; we need funding for that… Tourism is our primary way to do that.”

The plan is a long-term investment by Disney. While Wednesday represented the last chance that the community had to voice their opinions about the project, the decision will lead to a lengthy period of construction. The DisneylandForward project is meant to be completed over the course of four decades. The vote is set to take place on Tuesday, the 16th of April.