Citing its aging condition, the Syracuse Crunch are seeking upgrades to War Memorial Arena, though funding remains an issue.
Opening in 1951, War Memorial Arena has served as a home for professional sports franchises in Syracuse for decades, including the Crunch, who have used the venue since 1994. Going forward, the Crunch would like to see changes to help make the arena more viable for both the AHL and other events.
Among the renovations the Crunch would like to see include new club seating, suites, a restaurant, work to the scoreboard, and some smaller upgrades. The problem, however, has been securing state funds to assist in the project. No commitments have come from the State of New York to address upgrades for War Memorial Arena, though similar projects in other cities have previously received state assistance. Funds for the arena were omitted from the most recent state budget, and that is a source of frustration for the Crunch and owner Howard Doglon, who believe Syracuse should be in line to receive arena upgrades.
For its part, Onondaga County is seeking to secure revenue from an alternate funding source to aid War Memorial Arena. However, it is unlikely to cover all of the changes the Crunch are seeking. More from Syracuse.com:
In this year’s state budget — passed last week — there was no money for the War Memorial, despite assurances lawmakers were working on it. The county isn’t putting aside money to make all the immediate changes Dolgon wants, though there are plans to get around to some of them.
[County executive Joanie] Mahoney said that lack of state budget money was a miscommunication between herself and Sen. John DeFrancisco, who each thought the other would pursue money in the state budget. Dolgon, too, thought someone was working on it.
Now that the budget is done, the county is trying to secure a State & Municipal Facilities Capital grant, which would be for less than $1 million.
That money could be applied toward suites or toward fixing the scoreboard, whose north-facing screen was ruined during the ice-making process this year and has been blank all season. The county has loaned the Crunch two screens from the Lakeview Amphitheater as a temporary fix.
That would address a fraction of the price of the upgrades the Crunch are seeking, which Syracuse.com reports at an estimated cost of $5 million to $7 million.