Missouri lawmakers have approved funding to help cover Enterpise Center renovations, helping to bolster ongoing upgrades to the St. Louis venue.
Home of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, the arena has been undergoing a multi-phase renovation financed by the city and team, resulting in some of the biggest changes since its 1994 opening. State officials have thrown their support behind improvements to Enterprise Center, authorizing legislation that allows funding to be allocated over 20 years beginning in fiscal year 2022.
Under the terms of legislation approved by the state House Wednesday, the arena could get $2.5 million annually for the first 10 years, followed by $4.5 million in yearly payments over the ensuing decade. Proponents of the legislation argued that the significance of the renovations extends beyond the Blues, as it also better positions Enterprise Center to attract major non-NHL events. Both the state House and Senate have approved the proposal, sending it to Missouri governor Mike Parson for his consideration. More from the AP:
The arena is in the middle of its first major renovation since opening in 1994, financed partly by a $69 million bond issue approved by St. Louis. The Blues also have covered some of the costs. The scoreboard, sound system and some of the seats already have been upgraded. The next phase, aided by state money, would focus more on the building’s infrastructure such as its escalators, roofing and heating and air conditioning systems….
“Without renovations, and without public-sector support for those renovations, we run the risk of being less competitive in pursuit of national events,” said Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission, a nonprofit organization that attracts and manages sporting events.
Blues President and CEO of Business Operations Chris Zimmerman said in an email Wednesday night that the state funding provides the “final piece” to complete a restoration that will make the Enterprise Center “second to none in competing for and earning events that will make a significant difference to our city, community and state.”
The legislation authorizing the incentives now goes to Gov. Mike Parson. It passed the Senate 24-10 last week and the House 89-58 on Wednesday.
Prior to the 2018-19 NHL season, Enterprise Center underwent renovations that included the introduction of new gathering spaces and premium areas.
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