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Damage From Ice And Snow Cancels Events At Glens Falls Civic Center

Lucas Willard

At the beginning of what is usually the busiest time of year for the Glens Falls Civic Center, events are on hold as officials work to repair damage caused by winter weather.

A portion of the south-side wall of the Glens Falls Civic Center was torn away by snow and ice Wednesday. With the Section II basketball championships set for this weekend and the state tourney on tap later this month, the timing couldn’t be much worse for the arena, which opened in 1979.

Glens Falls mayor Jack Diamond pointed out some the damage.

“Right now it’s just the façade has fallen off the building, and the physical structure hasn’t been challenged at this point in time,” said the mayor.

Although the building itself is not structurally compromised, city engineer Steve Gurzler said that the damage at the upper portion of the wall where it meets the building’s roof has caused some interior leaking.

Gurzler said crews will work to clear the heavy, melting snow from the roof.

“There’s potential along this side for more problems. And we’re looking at that carefully. And as soon as we’re sure that it’s safe, we’ll get up there and do some snow removal. And we’ve got another contractor on the other side of the building where there was another large accumulation.”

Gurzler said in the meantime the scheduled Section II high school basketball tournament games are being moved to new locations.

“As a precaution we felt that we had to cancel the events because our primary goal is to keep people safe here.”

March is one of the busiest months of the year for downtown Glens Falls, which markets itself as a basketball destination hosting teams and fans from across the state. Mayor Diamond said it’s a big deal whenever the building is put out of commission.

“We want to get this repaired because we want to be able to host the New York state basketball tournament coming. We’ve got a hockey game scheduled next Tuesday, we’ve got Disney On Ice next Friday. So as quickly as we can we want to get in here and secure the building, make sure the building is safe for the public, and reopen,” said Diamond.

Over the past year, the city passed ownership of the arena to the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition.

Coalition president Dan Burke said in talking with maintenance staff at the building he was not aware of any previous issues related to snow and ice. He said he’s optimistic the necessary repairs to the outer wall can be completed quickly.

“This is one of those, I think, Mother Nature, winter got the best. I know that in my office alone, two or three of the folks I work with are fighting ice back up and water coming into their house. So it’s that kind of a winter I guess.”

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