Cambria County leaders are vowing that a newly released study on updating operations at the War Memorial Arena won’t simply gather dust.

The 38-page study calls for privatized management of the facility, updated financial and ticketing systems, bringing in more events and keeping the Johnstown Chiefs as the primary tenant.

The $37,500 study was funded by Cambria County and the Greater Johnstown Partnership.

“I don’t think we can monkey around,” county Commissioner Bill Harris said. “We have to move quickly.”

Although government doesn’t move as fast as private industry, President Commissioner P.J. Stevens said the first step will be to begin the process seeking proposals from potential operators, including advertising for the proposals by the end of the year.

Input will be sought from War Memorial Authority members, business leaders in the partnership, the Chiefs organization and even operators, he said.

Whether there would be a single entity to manage the facility or an “a la carte” system still is to be determined, Stevens said. Various options probably would be sought in the proposals, he said.

The study suggested these options for privatization:

• The hockey team serving as the private, overall manager.

• The team managing the facility with support for operational management and booking handled by a third party.

• Management by a third party, such as Global Spectrum, SMG, AEG or the team.

• Third-party handling of food and beverage concessions.

• An event booking agent.

• A ticketing system, such a Ticketmaster, Veritix or Tickets Now.

“Nothing is written in stone,” Stevens said. “Some people have predetermined notions on the outcome. That is not true. This is an exploratory process that must have input from all parties.”

Always an option is continuing the arena management now in place with outside assistance, he said.

At issue, Stevens said, is “what is the best fit for the arena and the Chiefs, and which (option) will assure success.”

Authority Chairman Jack Steeves said the study will be reviewed by the 15-member authority at its meeting Oct. 27 at the War Memorial.

Steeves believes that the arena management, led by General Manager Jim Vautar, should remain in place. Many of the changes suggested in the study already have been undertaken, he said, and attempts have been made to book more events.

The arena, which operates on a $1.128 million budget, has six full-time employees and 75 to 150 part-time workers, depending on the event.

The new study suggested that the authority itself should be revamped.

“A smaller and more involved arena authority may be more able to provide necessary oversight and accountability to the operations of the arena,” it said.

“Splitting the authority into separate entities – one that oversees operations and another that focuses on attracting additional events – should be considered.”

The study also recommends that a business plan should be developed to “effectively market and sell the arena usage and arena event tickets regionally.”

The commissioners are watching whether a pitch by W. Graeme Roustan for community financial support for the Chiefs will gain support.

Roustan’s United Arena Solutions took over management of the hockey team this summer, and Roustan potentially could take ownership Dec. 1, pending response to his appeal last week for financial help.

“If the idea is to keep the Chiefs here, we need to reach out and really solicit new corporate businesses in the community,” Harris said.

Stevens said it’s a matter of “countywide pride” to have a professional hockey team in Cambria County. He pointed to neighboring Blair County, where the Altoona Curve baseball team has drawn broad support.

But at the same time, Stevens said it’s important to bring in more events to the arena, which the study concluded is underutilized.

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