ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – An investigation into the Family Arena reveals massive debt and mis-management. St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said he wished the County had never put the project together.
“In hindsight, it wasn’t the best project to do. Absolutely. In hindsight I wish we’d never done it” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann.
Taxpayers built the Family Arena for $30 million in 1999. It was to be run by a private operator who was to bear the costs of it. But, that company went out of business and the St. Charles County government had to take over arena operations.
The facility was supposed to feature family friendly acts. That didn’t go over so well. The arena kept loosing money. Taxpayers are $2,600,000 in debt for the Family Arena according to the St. Charles County Finance Director. The County is now spending another $844,000 to upgrade the video and scoring display system to try to compete with Chaifetz Arena and Scottrade.
“They couldn’t make any money so they went bankrupt. Now (the Arena) is basically in the hands of the county. Yes I think it’s a good asset for the county to have. But I think you have to look at it as more like a park than as a money making proposition.” said Steve Ehlmann.
It’s an uphill climb though. When we asked Steve Ehlman what’s the end game for taxpayers he said he’d be happy so sit down with a potential buyer to talk about selling it to get it off the County’s hands..He says as a business deal it hasn’t turned out well for taxpayers.
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Full Interview with St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann: