While the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority waits for insurance money to determine its next course of action with the Augusta RiverHawks, team owner Bob Kerzner is losing patience.
During the authority’s monthly meeting Tuesday, Monty Jones Jr., general manager of Global Spectrum, which manages James Brown Arena, said the authority is close to receiving the insurance check necessary to refund the RiverHawks.
The RiverHawks were forced to play their final eight home games at Augusta Ice Sports Center this past season after the arena’s ice system failed.
Attendance was limited to season-ticket holders and sponsors.
Kerzner announced May 14 the team would not play next season, taking a one-year leave of league play after the arena failed to give Kerzner an answer on the floor before the league’s deadline.
“We’re close. I would say by the end of the month, hopefully, there’s a check in hand to the authority,” Jones said.
“Once they get that, that’s when their decision will be made on different things here or there.”
Jones said the check is expected to be close to $150,000, which includes covering expenses for initially trying to fix the system, as well as looking into fixing it now.
However, Jones said it was determined the only possible solution that could be covered was to fix the area that caused the system failure, not replace the entire system.
“We’ve been going back and forth for about three months now, and with the most recent information we’ve received, it looks to be that they will not replace the whole ice floor itself,” said Jones, who estimated the total replacement cost at $1.5 million. “But they will able to try to look at the area where the issue was. They will look to repair the cutting out of the floor, as well as the expenses occurred during that time to look into fixing the ice.”
For the RiverHawks, they continue to wait on compensation for the revenue lost during the eight games played in a different venue.
“It’s been 90 days,” said Kerzner, who would not disclose how much of a refund he expects to receive. “I keep hearing they’re waiting for the insurance company. I don’t have a contract with the insurance company. My contract is with Augusta and James Brown Arena. If they have an issue with insurance, that’s on them, not us. We just keep getting pushed back. It’s getting discouraging at this point.
“We stepped up to the plate. We fulfilled our contract. Now it’s up to them to step up to the plate. I don’t know how much longer I can wait.”
Kerzner acknowledged there have been talks surrounding the possibility of a new arena in Columbia County but didn’t go into further detail.
“Those talks are going along pretty well at this point,” he said. “Hopefully, something is resolved shortly, or have an idea if a new arena is built or what’s going on with the James Brown Arena.”