Wow! Facade, club boxes, new inner concourse planned for Aud before hockey starts!
Last year, several renovations were planned to entice a hockey team to the Aud. Now the team is real and additional renovations will make the building appear lots less that it’s 55 years age.
Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority has a lot on its plate:
A newly revamped inner concourse, where the concession stands are located, will be ready
A contract to add a new façade is set to be awarded later this month
A request for proposals to construct club boxes will go out next.
Also, a new parking lot that will nearly triple the number of spaces is already under construction, with the help of $500,000 from Oneida County.
All told, the renovations, which have been ongoing since 2011, will cost more than $6 million. Of that, $5 million comes from a pair of 2013 state grants obtained with the help of Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, and state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome.
“The auditorium is a landmark in our community and was in need of repairs,” Brindisi said. “(The repairs) also helped bring in the Utica Comets hockey team.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said the resurgence of hockey – the presence of Utica College hockey as well as the Comets – at the Aud has been a major catalyst for the institution’s turnaround, and he’s glad to help foster it.
“We had been struggling with the Aud, in terms of its viability and its continuance,” Picente said, referring to past financial troubles at the Aud. “It has become easy to invest in again. That’s what we are doing, and it’s paying off.”
He said he and others who grew up in the area are seeing the Aud become a vital part of downtown life again, just as it was years ago.
Read more about the Aud and Utica hockey.