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Civic Center Snags $2 Million For Upgrades

Lucas Willard

The Glens Falls Civic Center has been awarded $2 million in state funding to make major improvements to its aging facilities.

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul joined officials in Glens Falls this week to announce the $2 million Capital Improvement Grant for the arena at the heart of the small city’s entertainment district.

Now it’s up to the stakeholders to determine the best use of the money.

Jeff Mead is general manager of the arena, which is in need of some big upgrades.

“We need to modernize our arena. We believe video technology is a crucial part of our fan presentation. So that’s probably the first part that we’ll tackle,” said Mead.

A new video scoreboard was also on the top of Brian Petrovek’s list. Petrovek is president of the Adirondack Thunder, the East Coast Hockey League team that is the Civic Center’s anchor tenant.

“Two million is going to go fast. And I think we are on the same page in terms of priorities, and the video is certainly a big part of it.”

Also eyed for the grant: locker room improvements, a new floor covering to sit on top of the ice, and some upgrades to Heritage Hall – an event space beside the ice arena.

The money comes off the heels of a $675,000 grant that was used for a number of upgrades, notably new interior lighting and a new marquee out front. Wifi and a new sound system are in the works. All the investments are critical in keeping the space competitive with facilities on a national scale.  Again, general manager Jeff Mead.

“We’ve tackled a lot of projects, now we’re on to phase two of our building upgrades.”

State Senator Betty Little, who also secured funding to paint the steel beams in the arena, said providing a positive experience for fans is important to the future of the building.

“Sporting events and entertainment is big business in this state.”

Little expressed confidence in the Civic Center Coalition, the group of private businesspeople from the region that took over the building from the city in a lease-purchase agreement last year.

“They will work that $2 million as best they can and do as much as they can with it,” said Little.

Ed Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County and Economic Development Director for Glens Falls, thanked Senator Little, Assemblyman Dan Stec, and Governor Cuomo for assisting. Bartholomew, who served as mayor when the Civic Center was built in 1979, said the improvements will “showcase” the building in time for next January’s ECHL All-Star Game.

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