Updated 07/10/2012 05:53 PM
Jackals will play 2012-2013 season at First Arena
Over the past few months, the turmoil surrounding the First Arena in Elmira has caused some concerned over the long term future of the Jackals. Well Monday night, the Chemung County legislature eased those concerns for at least another year. Our Bill Mich has more on what lies ahead for the team and the arena after the upcoming season.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- It was back in February when Chemung County foreclosed on the First Arena because the building's operators and owners of the Jackals, the Afr family, failed to pay over $100,000 in taxes. Since then, the issue has been taken to court and the fate of the team and arena has been in question.
"The one thing that we didn't want to have happen and I saw it coming, is the place going dark just because there was no way these suits were going to get settled prior to the season and if they are appealed, they won't be until the end of this year," said Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli.
So the county, the Afr's and the owners of the arena have signed a memorandum of understanding which allows the Jackals to play this upcoming season, despite the legal battle. The agreement also gives the county the power to ensure the building is properly maintained, unlike last season where it was discovered the sprinkler system was not operational.
"I don't want to go through another season of that. Or the fact that they don't have insurance on the facility. We're not going to go through that. We're going to hold their feet to the fire, as we should," Santulli said.
But there is still the question of what happens after the 2012-2013 season. The county is hoping the legal side of the story will have run its course by the end of this calendar year and they can then begin looking at new options for an arena operator. And while it is not set in stone, the county executive believes the Jackals will continue to play.
"They're franchised for here. It's a good league. If they don't play here, they don't play. So, my gut is that we're going to be in fine shape but this just needs to play itself out," Santulli said.
The story is far from over, but it appears the Jackals are here to stay.