AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Out with the old James Brown arena, and in with a new one could give area hockey fans a reason to cheer.
“It’s an exciting time. I think that it brings more value and more importance to the fact that we need to get this arena passed,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.
Generating the “hockey could return buzz” is a new feasibility study that says if an ECHL team moved into the new arena, it would have a positive economic impact.
The study says that it would result in a nearly $1 million increase in profits for the Coliseum Authority the first year.
“The study actually says hockey is feasible for Augusta, but there are a lot of other variables that come into play that we have to look at,” said Coliseum Authority Chairman Cedric Johnson.
First of all, the Coliseum Authority did not include money for ice making equipment in the design of the new arena.
But the JBA’s management company, OVG, says it will front the Authority $10 million for ice making equipment if an agreement can be worked out on paying that back.
“My main goal as the chairman is making sure that the authority isn’t strapped with any extra payments for ice,” said Johnson.
In November, Augusta voters will decide whether to increase the sales tax by a half percent to pay for the new arena, which is an agreement on how to pay back the $10 million will not be in place on election day, but supporters say it doesn’t need to be.
“The reality is if we don’t get an arena, there is no hockey,” said Frantom.
A study says hockey is economically feasible, but if voters reject a new arena, that would be put on ice.