The tournament over the weekend brought in thousands of visitors to Hartford. The mayor says we need more events like this to make Hartford vibrant again.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said, “It was great to see downtown packed. Great to see Pratt Street packed. Great to see hotels filled not just in Hartford but around the entire region.“
Bob Colangelo with Max Bibo’s Deli added, “Last week we were infiltrated with people from all over the country and as you can see and look out of the streets are nowhere near as packed as they were last week.“
Mayor Luke Bronin said the XL Center needs a major makeover to bring in great entertainment acts and sporting events. “We’ve got to make sure we are making the investments necessary to keep that facility alive. That is a facility that is 40 years old. Most facilities don’t last 20 years,“ said Mayor Bronin.
Erin Sweeney with Vaughan’s Public House said, “The XL does a nice job even with as dated as it is getting big names in, but they need some new bathrooms, they need a face lift.“
Michael Freimuth, CRDA Capital Region Development Authority, Executive Director sent NEWS8 this statement:
“Improving the XL Center so that it can reduce its costs, improve its attractiveness to promoters and hence its revenues and allow it to compete with casinos is also a key to sustaining the viability of the efforts to rebuild downtown Hartford and attract additional private capital. “
Mike Nogas told NEWS8, “If you look at the inside you see stains things falling down. The escalator just got fixed after 4 or 5 years, we’ll see how long that lasts. You know it just needs a lot of upgrades in order to draw events.“
Colangelo added, “We are all waiting patiently to see what’s going to happen with that because they are debating at the legislator whether they are going to give them $250 million or $100 million or if they are even going to give them the $100 million to renovate what seems to be renovated.“
Mayor Bronin added, “I think you saw this past week what Hartford can look like and what the region can look like when you’ve got an XL Center that’s bringing in 15,30,45 thousand people to events there and that can happen more often if we have a modern competitive facility there.“
Mayor Bronin told NEWS8 the improvements to the XL Center can’t be put off any longer.