City says No to Windsor Express Proposal for Windsor Arena

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The Windsor Express won't be calling The Barn home, according to team President Dartis Willis.

A proposal was submitted to the City of Windsor back in 2019 that would see the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) team call Windsor Arena home.

Willis says the city handed down its decision this week after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Willis announced the proposal was short-listed for consideration, but the city is turning the plan down.

"We've only very recently been advised by the city, although the proposal is interesting and innovative, it's not one that city will be pursuing," he says. 

The team has primarily called the WFCU Centre home since 2012, but Willis says the team needs its own space to thrive.

"It's very important that we have a place that we can not only call home, but where we can control the revenue stream as well," he says. "We need a home and it's very important to have that identity for yourself in regards to a professional team."

Project lead Mario Iatonna plans to see if there's anything the Express can do to make the project happen.

"We're here for the long term regardless. Our preference is to be in Windsor Arena and to redevelop that facility for the community good," he says. "There's a lot of demand out there for using such a facility."

Willis says city officials didn't provide further feedback on their decision.

The former home of the OHL's Windsor Spitfires on McDougall Avenue near Wyandotte Street East was built in 1927 and has been closed since 2013.