Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne stood before a crowd Tuesday afternoon, flanked by city commissioners and IceMen Owner Ron Geary.
“This is one tremendous deal. It is a win for them and it is definitely a win for us,” says Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. He says adding the icemen will help generate more than $20 million in economic development the next ten years. Geary also plans to open a restaurant with an off-track betting parlor.
“What this does, again, is improve the quality of life in this city,” says Payne. “We’ll be able to attract more people to the city.”
The ECHL still must approve the deal, but Geary says he has verbal approval to play at the Sportscenter. Team owners and the city of Evansville couldn’t reach a deal over the Ford Center lease.
“I never did want to move operations,” says Geary. “I developed the team to be in Evansville, because I wanted to help downtown development and help things. But it just got to things with the high rent that I could not afford losing $600,000 a year.”
Geary says if the plan’s approved, the arena could be ready by the start of next season, which will be in November.