BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — The Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena opened in 1973, and now it’s time for some upgrades.
“The arena is 46 years old, it’s showing its age and we really need to make improvements to the arena to bring it into the 21st century,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar.
County officials and the arena’s management submitted a master plan, with the hopes of doing that.
“We want to see a significant visual improvement and functional improvement to the outside of the building that uses all the space that we have,” said the arena’s general manager Chris Marion.
A total transformation will make the building more modern looking.
“It’s unfinished concrete, it’s awkwardly shaped, there’s a lot of unused spaces. And right next door you have the Binghamton University Downtown Center. It’s all brick, glass, nice banners, nice signage. That’s what we want to see,” said Marion.
The goal is also to make the inside of the arena more accessible for everyone.
“ADA compliance and new seating options to add to the capacity and make it easier for people to get into the building, get into their seat and enjoy what they’re watching,” said Marion.
Not only will the upgrades make the arena look nicer and accommodate more people, it hopes to better the overall fan experience.
“That’s everything from technology from the WiFi to garbage and recycling to signage, to audio and visual, new sound systems, new lighting systems,” said Marion.
The project is expected to cost millions.
“We would have to look for funding above and beyond than what we’re already putting into the arena,” said Garnar. “We will be looking at every single type of grant funding that we can, whether it’s state or federal or any other type of funding.”
And arena management says these upgrades are more important now than ever. They say they will help keep the Binghamton Devils hockey franchise in the area.
“The enhancements to this building is hopefully going to make that last for another 50 years or more,” said Executive Vice President of the Binghamton Devils Tom Mitchell.
“There’s a lot of competition for what we have here and we need to provide the best experience for the tenants as well as the fans who come to watch them,” said Marion.
And the plans will also help keep Binghamton a hub for entertainment in the Southern Tier.
“What is the one single thing that brings people to downtown Binghamton? it’s all the things that happen here,” said Garnar.
The project will be split up into phases so it doesn’t disrupt the hockey season or any planned events. Phase one is expected to last between 12 and 18 months, but officials still are not sure when construction will start.