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No bidders for Glens Falls Civic Center

The Glens Falls Civic Center went up for auction Monday, but no bids were submitted.

Thomas Wade joined dozens of others, hoping to see who bought the Civic Center. He said he was disappointed, but not surprised no one did.

"It's a lot of money. Maybe if they reduce it a little bit somebody can come up with a novel idea of what to do with the center," said Wade.

The city was asking for a $1.5 million minimum bid to help wipe out a $1.3 million debt associated with the building. The Mayor said the operational costs and the debt, have been a burden on taxpayers for too long. The goal now, is to keep trying to sell it.

The Mayor's Office said Monday afternoon that the City Controller will accept sealed bids until September 12th at 11am. There is no minimum this time around.

"My goal is to have the operating cost of this building out of the taxpayers of Glens Falls hands in the year 2015," said Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond.

The Mayor said he has spoken with people who are interested and the City has received an offer from a local developer.

A group of local residents and business people have been raising money as well. The Coalition to Save our Civic Center wants to ensure the building remains a public space for generations to come. It expects to continue to receive donations now that the building has not sold.

"We've just reached out to people who have a committed interest in our region and this facility and the culture we have established in this facility. And we believe that  there is more money people will contribute," said Peter Aust, the President of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Coalition.

In less than two weeks, he said the group has raised about $600,000.

Aust said that the Coalition would have to sit down and come up with a business plan if the group did win the sealed auction process. But he said the group believes it can break even with operation of the space. He said the Coalition would likely seek a public-private partnership as well, because it views the Civic Center as a regional asset.

The Adirondack Flames is the hockey team that will play in the Civic Center. The President said what happened Monday, may not be bad.

"It may be an opportunity to talk to the city about why $1.5 million on the table to start with may not necessarily a formula for success," said Brian Petrovek, President of the Adirondack Flames hockey team.

Petrovek said that less money up front may mean the buyer will have more money to spend on the Civic Center. He expects to see a number of interested parties come forward now to come up with a plan that works for them and the city.

"Hopefully the outcome will be positive. We want nothing other than to see the building maintained in its current use for sports and entertainment for the next generation and hopefully we'll be part of that conversation," he said.