Elmira Youth Hockey season canceled due to First Arena uncertainty

Sports

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Elmira Youth Hockey will not have a season due to the uncertainty surrounding First Arena.

Parents met in July to discuss potential options for children this season if the arena is not available. After announcing there would not be a season, the program encouraged families to explore options in surrounding communities such as Corning, Binghamton, Ithaca, Lansing, and Geneva.

Thank you for being patient as we tried to find a solution for the 2021/2022 season. We will continue to follow and see what the future of First Arena may hold for future seasons.

First Arena has been closed since the building’s owner, the Chemung County IDA, did not renew its lease with CAN-USA and Elmira Enforcers owner Robbie Nichols.

18 Sports Commentary – the community need for First Arena

After the lease expired, the IDA announced that the arena would need a multi-million dollar renovation due to mold, a failing roof, and a faulty alarm system, among other issues.

IDA Board Chairman David Sheen stated in an IDA presentation that a “preliminary inspection of the facility reveals several challenges that need to be addressed by the board” and that “some of the issues may impede the sale or lease of the facility.”

A resolution initially proposed would take care of the door lock expenses and acquire estimates to: hire an exterminator, hire an air quality and mold removal service, hire a facilities attendant, find a temporary fix for the roof, remove “stuff” left behind, address the fire alarm, and examine the HVAC unit.

Included in the resolution was the approval to receive an estimate on what it would cost to tear down the arena. The addition of demolition costs to the resolution was proposed by IDA Treasurer Thomas M. Carr, who also serves as President & CEO of Elmira Savings Bank.

“I think it’s going to be very hard to move forward based on what I saw and what I think it’s going to cost to fix that building,” said Carr. “I think it’s gonna be very difficult to make the decision to move forward with those types of maintenance costs without knowing what the other way out is, especially considering that I don’t really think the arena from an investment standpoint is a going concern. And you know, as treasurer of the IDA, we don’t want to drain our bank accounts.”

18 News has requested documents regarding the safety of First Arena from the IDA and was told that those documents would be made available “on or about September 15, 2021.”

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