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Metro Council approves $3.6 million for upgrades to Raising Cane's River Center

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BATON ROUGE - The Raising Cane's River Center is under construction in preparation of welcoming a professional hockey team to the capital city.

It's been 46 years since the arena was built in 1977 and 12 years since it was renovated in 2011. 

"We don't have the same amenities that other arenas have, other convention centers have to be competitive. So when our partner Visit Baton Rouge is going out and trying to get these conventions to come to town we're going up against Pensacola, Mobile, Shreveport etc., so how can we better compete with them?" Raising Cane's River Center General Manager Wayne Hodes said.

In October 2022, the Metro Council approved $2 million worth of improvements. Wednesday, another $3.6 million was approved in addition to the original funding. This funding comes from tourism as part of a hotel motel tax.

"It's going to help us get back to the point where we can be competitive with our regional competitors," Hodes said.

These funds will help purchase things to enhance the gameday experience such as a jumbotron with replay capability, something that was absent from the three exhibition games.

"There's going to be a top ring of LED and a bottom ring of LED in addition to the four sides of full video capability with animation and led technology," Hodes said.

The funding was approved unanimously by the council. Councilman Aaron Moak raised concerns about the project, saying that he needs to see a strategic plan before approving any more money.

"I want to know if we do something of substantial cost this is what we'll do and this is how it will impact Baton Rouge and bring more tax dollars to East Baton Rouge Parish," Moak said.

Other improvements to the River Center include locker rooms, new lower level seating and an extra zamboni for the upcoming hockey season.

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