March 29, 2013

Civic Center's work likely set back 3 months

Trustees and the Portland Pirates argue over who is responsible for the delay in the renovation project.

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

This artist conception, an overlay on a photo of the present Cumberland County Civic Center, shows the what the southeast corner of the building will eventually look like. But the Civic Center's trustees and the arena's principal tenant are arguing over who is responsible for a delay in the ongoing renovation project that is likely to push its completion back more than three months.

Provided photo

The Pirates have since slid and are no sure bet for the playoffs, but Pratt said the decision has already been made.

Although Cianbro may be able to get some subcontractors started if the Pirates don't make the playoffs, he said it's likely that the work schedule and completion date would still be set back.

Pratt said the Civic Center offered to compensate the Pirates if Petrovek moved the playoff games, but when Petrovek asked for more than the $500,000 a delay would cost, that idea made no sense.

Petrovek later came back with a lower number but then told Pratt about the Coyotes' preference before the two sides could discuss that proposal in depth.

"This is not about money," Petrovek said. "The Coyotes are not about finances, it's about player development."

Petrovek blasted Civic Center officials over a drawn-out negotiation schedule for a new lease to replace the one that expires once the Pirates' season ends.

He said he wanted a new deal by October, then by December, so he could start selling tickets for the 2013-14 season.

He said there's still no deal after the latest negotiating session, on Thursday, costing his team revenue. The Civic Center's negotiators, he said, keep adding to a list of "unknowns" to explain the lack of deal.

Pratt said Petrovek's proposals for a new lease are "a moving target" and Petrovek knows the Civic Center wants to do no worse than break even.

However, Petrovek said his team has never turned a profit and he can't allow that to continue indefinitely, with a piece of the take on concessions one of his prime goals.

Still, neither Petrovek nor Pratt is raising the idea of the Pirates leaving Portland.

"I want there to be hockey in Portland," Pratt said.

"Moving the team is the last thing I'm thinking of doing," Petrovek said. "We've just got to figure out how to skin this cat."


Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:


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