XL Center renovations on hold due to Hartford bailout - WFSB 3 Connecticut

XL Center renovations on hold due to Hartford bailout

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The future of Hartford's XL Center is once again in jeopardy.

A $100 million improvement is now on hold.

The city is already getting hundreds of millions in bailout money for financial problems, and state lawmakers may not want to spend any more.

It’s hard to imagine downtown Hartford without the XL Center. The arena has been here for 43 years.

It’s also in desperate need of repairs, some say fixing it is worth it, but others say it’s not.

They've been trying to sell it as is, but there have been few takers.

So, the plan has been to renovate the XL Center and make it more attractive in hopes of creating a public-private partnership.

The XL Center has already received $35 million for renovations and this year the governor was asking for $100 million.

Republican State Senator Joe Markley feels the state is just putting good money into a bad investment.

“This is a failed facility at this point, and no amount of money is going to make it a success, even the people who are advocating for it, they admit it's never going to make money,” Markley said.

Markley feels the XL Center will die no matter how much money the state puts into it, and would rather see it torn down and retail shops and restaurants in its place.

State lawmakers were ready to spend $100 million but backed off because the $550 million bailout Hartford is getting to fix its financial problems.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said without significant investment, the XL Center can't operate much longer.

In a statement, Bronin said in part, “we either have to be ready to make some meaningful investment in the facility or we have to be prepared to shut it down, leaving a crater in the middle of the capitol city."

The arena is outdated and the pipes are decades old, they are worn out and are leaking.

There are also major problems with air conditioning and heating.

Patricia Trumpet wishes there were better solutions.

"That's a lot of money and for the taxpayer to pick up paying that and Hartford is already strapped for cash, however, it’s still trying to figure out what to do with it is hard. I like the venues and I like the different events. I am supposed to come here for an event next month,” said Trumpet, of East Hartford.

Some are optimistic that $100 million will be put back into the budget, but these days, that's heavy lifting.

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