When I got a peek at the Fairgrounds Arena today, I could see potential for many events big and small. The lobby alone is large enough to host events in winter without upsetting the ice activities and in the warmer months, much can happen.
There needs to be vision and leadership on all of this, not just a replication of the former Arena with more bathrooms and fresh paint.
I was there to look at the snack bar to see if I want to bid on the franchise. I got the quote on insurance today and it was reasonable. As I look at what's there, the question I have is can a profit be made to justify the risk and investment.
For an established operation like a Jreck or Subway, there's the advantage of access to a reservoir of staffing, oversight, equipment and inventory. For a small time operator, that's a challenge. In either instance, I don't see a bidder ponying up even the $6K a year the City made running the old snack bar which was smaller and in a less attractive location.
The possible naming rights to the Arena may result in the city dictating things like soda products and that's an issue as any vendor will need to quickly contract with Coke or Pepsi for fountain equipment. It's an attractive high visibility venue for either. I've dealt with Coke for years and have been very satisfied with the product and service.
With the opening looming, getting something up and running right away won't be easy, and I don't think the City will operate it in the interim. It's important the initial public impression is good.
But, regardless of this, the building is an improvement and Saturday ice will be made. I am sure the media will be there, so maybe you'll get a glimpse.
For what it's worth, I am not keen on the naming matter. The people have paid for this and I don't think someone should take ownership in the public eye for the few thousand dollars likely to be offered or negotiated.