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Council approves arena improvements

Oct. 10, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Another phase of improvements at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena won approval Tuesday from Huntington City Council.

The ordinance the council approved by a unanimous vote authorizes $853,000 in projects, including adding a family restroom in the lobby area, building a new catering room and turning the old catering room into a VIP room, and renovating the conference center to add three meeting rooms, two of which will have Smart Board technology.

The projects will be funded by $4.7 million in economic development recovery bond proceeds approved by the council in 2010. The federally backed bonds already have paid for new seating and a new heating system.

Arena General Manager Brian Sipe told council members during a work session last week there should be enough bond proceeds left over to renovate the plaza in front of the arena and improve the box office and ticket windows.

In other business Tuesday, the council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance authorizing a transfer of 5.3 acres of land at the Deitz Hollow landfill from the city to the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority. The Authority will sell the land and use the proceeds to help pay for supplemental environmental projects required by the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve a fine.

The 2011 fine cited a failure of the city to address illicit discharges, runoff from construction sites, post-construction storm water runoff and pollution from city-owned facilities.

The fine was reduced from $156,000 to $15,000, provided the city move forward with "supplemental" storm water projects to decrease runoff.

In a related matter, the council also unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance addressing illicit storm water discharges and establishing best management practices. The ordinance also was strongly recommended by the EPA when it levied the fine last year.

During the good and welfare portion of the meeting, Gary Ward, president of Classic Construction, presented the Huntington Fire Department with 100 smoke alarms to distribute to residents. Ward said his company will donate 100 smoke alarms each year for four more years to the department.

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