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Glens Falls Prepares For Civic Center Auction

Doug Kerr-Dougtone/Flickr

On Monday, the City of Glens Falls will place its publicly owned arena up for auction. While some in the city are looking for a sale, others are hoping to keep the ownership of the Glens Falls Civic Center within the community.

With a $1.5 million price tag, the Glens Falls Civic Center will be put up for auction Monday morning. The Civic Center, owned by the city since its construction in the 1970s, has been a drain on the city’s finances in recent years.

Glens Falls mayor Jack Diamond said the city cannot afford to foot the bill any longer to keep the place going, and that he’s optimistic for a sale.

“We’ve had 12 interested parties, and that doesn’t include how many people have reviewed the packet we’ve put together on the city’s website, so I’m hopeful Monday will bring us a new owner of the building,” said Diamond.

The mayor has also packaged two parking lots within the city to be sold with the Civic Center.

But some are wary of the arena being sold into private hands. Under the terms of the auction, the new buyer would have to honor the contract with new American Hockey League team the Adirondack Flames, who begin their inaugural season in October.

A group of regional business owners have formed a non-profit foundation with hopes of putting the Civic Center into a private-public partnership. Elizabeth Miller, president of Glens Falls-based Miller Mechanical Services, said Friday afternoon the Coalition to Save Our Civic Center has between $400,000 and $500,000 on hand toward the purchase of the Civic Center. The group has promised to match donations up to $300,000 to reach its $600,000 goal.

Miller she was happily surprised by the support from business leaders and area residents, and is confident the group will reach its goal.

“And I think we will be successful, and I hope when we are that the supporters that are stepping back to see if they can be helpful and area serious, that they’ll come forward with some finances and we’ll join forces to make this the best venue we have in the area,” said Miller.

Last Friday, an emergency meeting of the Warren County Board of Supervisors Occupancy Tax Committee was called to discuss a measure proposed by Glens Falls Supervisor William Kenney. The measure would raise the county tax on hotel beds and would require towns to put $30,000 of their occupancy tax proceeds, typically used for tourism promotion, toward saving the Civic Center. The measure was met with a lack of interest from the Committee.

Horicon town Supervisor Matthew Simpson.

““I think we need to let the process play out, and I think we really can’t come to any conclusion until after this auction goes through,” Simpson said at the meeting.

Those interested in bidding for the Civic Center are required to submit a refundable $150,000 fee to enter the auction.

In June, Queensbury developer Richard Schermerhorn offered to purchase the building for $750,000.

Mayor Diamond said if the auction doesn’t go through, the city will consider the other options.

“If someone doesn’t successfully manage to get the bid out the building then this council can look at other options. I know the Coalition may be putting something together to offer the city in case we’re unsuccessful with the auction. I know Mr. Schermerhorn has put a proposal out there that’s still current that the council could review, and the council could also decide to hold a future auction if they chose to do that,” said Diamond.

For more information on the Coalition visit:

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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