KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports - - Skepticism over Civic Center/MSU Relationship at City Council

Skepticism over Civic Center/MSU Relationship at City Council

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MANKATO, Minn. -

The new members first business on the council... dealing with the continuing debate over civic center renovations.
 
The plan remains more or less intact... a $29 million renovation, half funded by sale taxes, the other half by a long sought after bonding bill.

But the time has come to make some needed improvements, namely $3 million for new ice and dasher boards.
 
Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges says, "If we have a catastrophic failure in the system, we'll essentially be out of ice and have to shut the system down, which becomes difficult because often scheduling."

But as to the bigger proposed renovations, which would add both athletic and academic facilities to the existing civic center, the debate about the role of the city continues.
 
MSU men's hockey coach Mike Hastings says, "To have an opportunity to provide for out athletes in the same footprint that we're competing against. We're just looking for an environment to house our student athletes both on and off the rink so they can have the opportunity to compete at the level that we're expected to compete against."
 
Councilman Chris Frederick says, "We're asking the state for resources to build, or to come up with half of re-doing this ice area. It almost sounds like it's going to be an extension of MSU's campus. Would we as a community be better off supporting MSU going for state resources, because they have leverage?"
 
Mankato Mayor Eric Anderson says, "Why are we being asked to help the college, without looking at it from the perspective of the college being a tenant of the existing facility?"
 
Richard Straka, MSU Vice President of Finance and Administration, responds, "I'll also argue that we're an economic development engine for you. We have 80,000 visitors that we bring to that convention center just for hockey games. And we can talk about the economic development that's sprouted downtown and what this downtown was before we built that civic center."