Why Sale of Elmira's First Arena Is In Jeopardy

Feb 9, 2017

Elmira's First Arena may be shutting its doors.
Credit Gabe Altieri / WSKG

The future of Elmira’s First Arena is in jeopardy. A proposed sale might not happen because of a disagreement between the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency and the City of Elmira. 

WSKG's Sarah Gager and Gabe Altieri talked about the cause of the disagreement and what might happen now.

Interview Highlights: 

On First Arena's ownership history:

Gabe Altieri: Back in June, the Chemung Industrial Development Agency bought the arena. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, as it looked for a new owner. It found one, but didn’t say who. Now, the deal with that owner is in jeopardy and the IDA is running out of money to keep the arena open.

On the disagreement between Elmira and the Chemung IDA:

GA: One piece of equipment that needs upgrading is an ice plant. That will cost $1.5 million. The plan was to split the cost of that ice plant evenly between Elmira and the Chemung County IDA. Elmira was also asked to pay another $700,000, due at the end of the Elmira Jackals hockey season. The Jackals play their home games at the arena. I spoke to Elmira City Manager Michael Collins [Wednesday] and he told me the city never agreed to pay those costs, only to talk about it. The city council decided not to pay either [amount] and that’s why there’s trouble now.

On how closing the arena could affect downtown:

GA: Elmira won $10 million from the state to build up it’s downtown. Mike Krusen, President of the IDA, told me in December that keeping the arena open was crucial to the success of the revitalization.