He was also admittedly surprise at the margin in which it passed, nearly a 2-to-1 margin.
It’s hard to characterize 11 years of searching for a solution and seeing it come together is such a resounding way,” said Petrovek. “It’s an overwhelming culmination. We were given advice that usually the margin gets smaller as you get closer so to see that kind of a win just really makes it that much sweeter. We’re thrill at (the results). We weren’t expecting 2-to-1.”
Voters backed a $33 million dollar bond in Tuesday’s election to renovate the aging facility by a fairly large margin, approving it by a 58 percent to 42 percent margin with 95percent of the precincts reporting.
With the approval, the process is now set in motion that will now see the Civic Center upgraded in several areas including plans for bringing the building into ADA compliance, adding premium seating, bigger lobby and concourse spaces, improved concessions as well as improvements to the back of the house and loading dock facilities.
Petrovek expects that once details are in place and renovations begin that they could be completed within a two-year span.
“As soon as our season ends after we win a Calder Cup,” Petrovek said prior to Wednesday’s game in Manchester, “we’ll be ready to start the work. “Hopefully, we can work efficiently and aggressively over the next two offseason as to not disrupt our business and much of Civic Center’s core business in those September to May months and try to squeeze (construction) in as efficiently as we can in the off-season.”
“We have a lot of work to do. We need to refine drawings. Who is going to sell premium seating, sell naming rights and other items that we need to fast track, but they’re all within our grasp now that we have the investment to back it up. Hopefully, we’ll be in a position to put the shovel in the ground when the season is over.”
Another item that will need to be finalized is the Pirates lease with the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates have used relocation in the past as leverage for a new lease. The team explored Worcester as a potential home in 2005 and was in discussions with Albany in 2009 before agreeing on the current two-year lease agreement with the Civic Center, which is set to expire in April.
For the Pirates and the Civic Center, now that the bond has passed, the focus will be placed on coming up with a more permanent long-term lease, one that Petrovek hopes is his last.
“We have six months left in the lease,” said Petrovek. “As (Chair of the Civic Center Trustees) Neil (Pratt) and I talked as we were rolling up our sleeves a few months ago to focus only on this win. We realized when it’s over – and now it’s over – we’ll sit down and have conversation. We’re pleased that it will be this conversation and not the alternative.”
“Hopefully, this is last one we ever do…”
Back in August, the Pirates and Civic Center discussed the framework for an extended lease agreement, lasting 10-years. No details were ever affixed, but both sides felt they had enough of the groundwork in place they could visit the process once the results of the vote was finalized.
“We’ve had conversations along those lines,” said Petrovek in discussing the framework of long-term lease with the Civic Center. “We felt good enough to leave it and pick it up in a post-win environment… I’m confident that we are close enough philosophically that when we run numbers, the numbers will tell their own story, and it won’t be a tedious process.”