ELMIRA, NY – If you were to encapsulate the drama surrounding the Elmira Jackals, First Arena and a potential sale of the team to someone with NHL ties, it would probably read something like this:
“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives….”
The latest chapter in the saga came Thursday when the City of Elmira decided not to assist in financial assistance to the Chemung County IDA for the First Arena.
Since late January, speculation has been flying about the future of the Elmira Jackals and the First Arena, when the City of Elmira announced they would not be giving money to the First Arena to contribute toward the replacement of the arena’s ice plant and $700,000 in outstanding payables due by the Elmira Jackals at the end of the season.
Despite saying last week that they felt comfortable giving the original $750,000, the city turned down the counter offer.
Elmira City Manager Michael Collins told WETM-TV that with the current financial condition, the city would not be able to provide assistance for the arena.
“When we were asked for the $1.45 million, that would of been a minimum of a 3% tax increase. Now we are going to $750,000 that would of been a 1.2% to 1.5% tax increase.”
Despite the news from the city, the Elmira Star-Gazette reported that the county can underwrite the arena’s overhead through the completion of the Jackals’ ECHL season.
“I think the Industrial Development Agency will allow me to preserve the team until the end of the season,” said Michael Krusen, Chemung County IDA chief.
Krusten also mentions that the finances for the arena are in a state of flux. Weekly events at the arena could extend operations but as he said “It’s a day to day situation.”
The Jackals are scheduled to play 16 of their remaining 23 games at First Arena.
Despite the news from the city, the deal to transfer the ownership is not dead but it seems more and more unlikely to county officials.
The Elmira Jackals are scheduled to play tonight at First Arena against the Reading Royals to start a three-game weekend series, with the games on Saturday and Sunday taking place in Reading.
We’ll continue to follow the situation with the Jackals, are more twists and turns are surely expected.