Thursday, September 16, 2010

Civic Arena To be Demolished

The vote on Thursday morning was quick and unanimous.

Eight Sports and Exhibition Authority Board Members voted to demolish the 49-year old Civic Arena. The SEA voted for the demolition despite impassioned public comment against doing so.

State Senator Wayne Fontana, an SEA Board Member, said his vote was informed by reports that maintaining the arena would be costly and would ultimately not benefit the community.

"The best way to generate revenue back to the public through wage taxes and jobs and those kinds of things would be to take the arena off that spot," he said.

Robert Pfaffman, an architect who has been heading the Reuse the Igloo effort said he was disappointed by the outcome of the SEA’s unanimous vote.

"I’m an optimistic person," he said, "So I thought at least one person on that board might actually see an opportunity to compromise and develop a process that allows even people that disagree an opportunity to work together and that clearly wasn’t the case here."

He says the group will seek an injunction to block the demolition. He says the SEA could be violating federal preservation law, which prevents “anticipatory demolition” of historic structures. If so, they could lose federal funding for the lower hill’s redevelopment.

The SEA says they will start removing asbestos from the building. The bids for the demolition, slated to cost $5 million dollars will be ready early next year.

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