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City Council approves contract renewal for Big Sandy arena

Oct. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The Big Sandy Superstore Arena will remain under the same management company for the foreseeable future.

Huntington City Council members unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that authorizes a contract renewal between the arena and SMG.

Arena manager Brian Sipe said the agreement calls for a 10-year contract extension with SMG, the company that has managed the arena since 2000. The arena will receive a $250,000 signing bonus, money that could be used on upgrades and promotions at the 35-year-old facility.

The arena has undergone a $4.6 million renovation during the past two years that included new telescopic seating. A study released earlier this year by Marshall University's Center for Business and Economic Research said the arena has a financial outfit of $17 million annually for an eight-county region and sustains the equivalent of 190 full-time jobs. It was named to Billboard Magazine's "New and Renovated Venues to Watch" list for 2013.

Council members unanimously approved the acceptance of a $28,000 federal grant to hire a third code enforcement officer who will help enforce a new set of laws intended to eliminate external sanitation violations such as trash, junk storage and tall grass. The city is matching the grant by providing benefits for the position. Mayor Steve Williams said a third code enforcement officer will allow the city to be more proactive in cleaning up the city. Through last week, the city's two code enforcement officers and building inspector had issued 827 citations since July 1, far surpassing the 99 citations issued by code enforcement officers during all of the previous year. Of those who have appeared in municipal court, 76 percent have complied and avoided fines.

Here's a look at other actions from the council meeting:

FLOODWALL CERTIFICATION: The council approved one contract for engineering services and moved another to a second reading Monday. Both contracts pertain to the second and third phases of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's certification of Huntington's floodwall. Both contracts are with Mead and Hunt of Charleston and total $330,320.

FIRE DEPARTMENT BOAT: The council unanimously approved a resolution accepting a $759,096 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a firefighting vessel, trailer, support vehicle and support equipment for the Fire Department. Mayor Steve Williams announced the grant award last month. The boat will be between 35 and 38 feet in length and will contain three water cannons, navigational radar and Sonar technology, diving equipment and a pressurized cabin. The boat will replace the department's 22-foot vessel, which has a flat bottom and was designed for lakes.

BICYCLE SAFETY: The council sent a proposed ordinance that would require all bicyclists who ride at night to have a light on the back of their bicycle to the Public Safety Committee. The city already requires cyclists to have a light on the front of their bicycle.

Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter @BryanChambersHD.

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