War Memorial upgrade talks heat up between Onondaga County and Crunch


The home of the Syracuse Crunch should be getting some upgrades in time for the beginning of the 2017-2018 season.

At an Onondaga County Legislature Facilities Committee meeting Deputy County Executive Bill Fisher spoke to legislators about the War Memorial's wishlist.

At the top of the list, replacing the seven-year-old scoreboard with a new one that is compatible with high definition technology.

The county is also hoping to add a video system that will work with five new marquees outside of the War Memorial, Oncenter and Civic Center.

With the cost of the improvements adding up, the county is looking for a longer commitment from the hockey team.

"We have a lease with the Crunch that has seven years left on it and we've asked them to consider extending that lease for three more years so we'll have a ten year lease over which we can amortize the cost of the improvements," Deputy County Executive Bill Fisher said.

Fisher also mentioned the desire to add premier seating in the form of luxury suites and possibility a restaurant above ice level.

"We plan to have whatever premier seating get built ready by the 2018-2019 season," Fisher said.

He also admits there are more upgrades that need to be done like fixing the bathrooms. One idea to help limit congestion near the bathrooms is to install televisions so people won't feel like they'll miss something if they don't wait until play is stopped.

County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon says they will be looking to secure money for some of these improvement projects at a committee meeting later this month, and the full legislature could vote on them as early as August 1st.

"Money gets invested into that arena every year, but now we're really focused on bringing it up to the standards of other AHL arenas," McMahon said.

The county is also working closely with the Onondaga County Veterans Service Advisory Board. They hope to make the building more accessible for everyone, and they're looking to add more to honor service men and women of all eras.

"We need to remember the intent of why the building is there and recognize the sacrifice that many families have given and continue to give," said McMahon.

A number of these upgrades seem to be closer than ever to being completed.

"When their constituents go to them [legislators] and say I love the Crunch, but the bathrooms are a disgrace, it becomes to get the legislators to open up the purse string a little bit and make the repairs that are needed," Fisher said.

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