Mayor Ron Payne received a letter from IceMen Owner Ron Geary today stating that after much research and thought, the IceMen will not be coming to Owensboro.
“Today was the deadline the City of Owensboro gave them, and they took full advantage of that time to make their decision,” Payne said.
According to Geary’s letter, “Research shows that the age and condition of the Owensboro Sportscenter would simply require too much cost to convert it to a first-class hockey arena and to refurbish the rest of the arena into something that we would all be proud of.”
At the press conference, Payne quickly jumped to the more positive news that Spectra Venue Management, the company that manages the Owensboro Convention Center, will now manage the Sportscenter.
Dean Dennis, Spectra General Manager, told Owensboro Living the agreement with the City is that Spectra will contribute $40,000 for renovations while the City will contribute $120,000. The City has already budgeted a new roof, which they still plan to provide.
Spectra has already discussed their plans with the Kentucky Mavericks, Kentucky Wesleyan College, and Owensboro Catholic High School, who all play home games at the Sportscenter. “Our next improvements will be a complete renovation of the concession area, upgrades to the restrooms, and paint and signage to add a little color and excitement,” Dennis said. “Our objective is to provide a better food experience and drive more events to the facility which will drive down the deficit.”
Dennis spoke with Mavericks Operations Manager Gary Green this afternoon. “The Mavericks plan to be here a long time. They’ve made an investment in the community so anything we can do to improve their experience – and the other teams who play there – and ultimately the fans’ experience is a win-win for us. We want this to be a fun, exciting place to play. That venue used to be full all the time, and we hope to build it up like that again.”
In addition, Geary’s letter said Ellis Park will also be passing on the potential off-track betting facility and restaurant along the riverfront.