Rockford's city council and the Winnebago county board agree the MetroCentre needs a renovation. But that's about all they agree on right now.
The MetroCentre buck has been passed back and forth so many times its starting to wear thin. Today County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen says the board may be willing to rethink its stance.
Last night the city council approved its end of a three-way agreement to fund renovations with the county and MetroCentre. But the deal depends upon revenue from owning an A.H.L. hockey team. The county said last week it would not support that.
Mayor Larry Morissey says that could mean the taxpayers would end up footing the bill for the shortfall.
"Discussion has to take place and there has to be a comparable situation financially so that we know we're protecting our taxpayers' interests," says Morissey.
County Board Chairman Christiansen rebutts: "Bring us those numbers as to what the shortfall might be and I'm sure the County Board would be willing to look at that again."
Christiansen says the board won't look at this again until all information is on the table and all talks are over. Negotiations went on all day today between the IceHogs and the MetroCentre to try to work out a new lease.
All we know about today's negotiations is that the IceHogs and MetroCentre are making progress. Progress toward what is the question?
Mayor Morrissey says the IceHogs need to sign a ten-year lease to give the kind of financial security the A.H.L. team would have offered. The Hogs may go that route or they may still choose to sell.
Another option is a smaller-scale renovation, but some of the things that would be cut from the plans, like luxury box seating, are the very things that offered needed extra revenue.