This week, the Pegulas again expressed concern over the condition of the Blue Cross Arena. They want to know the arena will be upgraded to ensure the Amerks can have a suitable home for years to come.
A consultant recommended $37 million in improvements to the arena. That’s about what we spent 20 years ago to upgrade the War Memorial.
The city has secured $10 million from the state for upgrades. This isn’t enough. This week, the governor broke ground on a $1.5 billion expansion of New York City’s Javitz Center. The state has the money to do these projects. Rochester needs to get its fair share.
Putting expensive bandaids on the arena every two decades may not be fiscally responsible. The city needs to come up with a comprehensive plan for the War Memorial and convention center. Decide the future of these facilities, even if that means new builds. Then go after the money to do it.
It may be a good thing if the Pegulas wanted to buy the arena and make the kinds of investments in downtown Rochester that they are making in Buffalo. However, it’s clear the arena needs too much work to be an attractive option at this point. A partnership with the Pegulas could be a way forward to preserve the team and secure a modern facility that can be enjoyed for decades to come.