Future of First Arena still in question
Last month, First Arena's lease holder paid more than $130,000 in back taxes to Chemung County to avoid foreclosure. But the county still must accept that payment to fully redeem the property. And as our Bill Mich tells us, that decision may not happen for quite a while.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- Next Monday night, the Chemung County legislature has the opportunity to accept the repurchase of the First Arena and turn it back over to Southern Tier Economic Development and the lease holder, Mustafa Afr. But County Executive Tom Santulli has other ideas.
"We're not accepting the repurchase that STED has offered, that Dr. Afr has put that money forward and I'm asking the legislature to do nothing for this period of time," said Santulli.
That is because Santulli wants to launch a full investigation into how the building has been operated for the past dozen years and make a final decision on its future in June. He said there have been major concerns about the Jackal's home, including a lack of maintenance, worries about the building's condition, and a lapse in insurance coverage.
"We found out that there has been periods of time, we're not sure how much, but it has been considerable, where this facility had no insurance. It's had no fire insurance, it's had no liability insurance," Santulli said.
Santulli wants to find out if there is anyone else out there interested in operating the facility to see if they can take the First Arena in a new direction. That process can begin to move forward if the legislature accepts Santulli's proposal next Monday night.