Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)By Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – After the team’s fight to get funding for Scottrade Center renovations, and watching the Rams and soccer stadium issues in recent years, the president of the St. Louis Blues says he’s become convinced the region’s governmental structure must change.

Chris Zimmerman, who has been in St. Louis for 3 1/2 years,  says it’s become clear to him that for the region to compete, local governments must consolidate.

“Most of the places, and particularly most of the mid-sized cities we’re competing with in the Midwest, have a unified structure which makes them more competitive,” he says.

Zimmerman says he understands the challenges involved, but, “we are simply fragmenting our resources and we’re making it harder and harder to tackle some of the bigger issues – forget about sports facilities – that we need to address here in St. Louis.”

The comments were made on KMOX’s “Sports on a Sunday Morning” with host Mike Kelly, after the Kiel Center Partners settled the lawsuit filed by Alderwoman Cara Spencer seeking to block city funding for Scottrade Center improvements.

While Zimmerman says the team is now moving forward with the upgrades, St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green is still planning to appeal the judge’s ruling forcing her to sign the documents authorizing funding for the work.

The renovations began last summer with a new ice plant, updated locker rooms and restrooms, a new scoreboard and a new sound system.

Zimmerman says next summer, the team will replace all the arena’s seats, upgrade concession stands and improve the escalators and elevators.

A third round of improvements are scheduled for the following summer. The entire project is expected to cost St. Louis $106 million over the next 30 years.

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