Chemung County IDA works to provide a bright future for First Arena
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- It's been over nine months since the Elmira Jackals said goodbye to First Arena and fans in the Twin Tiers.
Now, the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is working to make sure the arena doesn't go to waste.
"It's an important asset to the community, but unfortunately it has also been a financial drain, in many respects," said Deputy Chemung County Executive and Chemung County IDA Executive Director, Mike Krusen. "So we're trying to get this right, make sure it remains that viable entity moving forward. But also, make sure it doesn't become a financial albatross for the community."
Krusen says the IDA is working on grants to help make some necessary repairs to the facility.
He believes Elmira College hockey will eventually be able to move in and fill the void left by the Jackals.
"We're looking at some state grants to do some capital improvements at the arena," said Krusen. "Which would be very important ice plant upgrades, some roof repair that needs to take place. You'll need new locker rooms for Elmira College if we're able to eventually have them play there. I know they're very interested in that. A couple blocks from the college, that's really where the men's and women's hockey program should be."
In the meantime, the county is occupying the arena with events like Wine on Ice and professional bull riding.
Krusen says the IDA still holds a lot of hope for the future of the arena.
"If the things that we're working on come to a conclusion, hopefully the people will see a vibrant facility with some level of professional hockey, with college hockey, men's and women's, with youth sports in there, adult recreational leagues for hockey and a number of different shows that can be blended in with the rest of the arena activities," said Krusen.
Krusen says they hope to strike a deal with Elmira College for the start of the 2019 and 2020 season.