FLINT-The city of Flint has sold its IMA Sports Arena to local physician and entrepreneur Khaled Shukairy for $2.2 million. The arena, used by the city for everything from hockey tournaments to cat shows, has been in desperate need of repairs for some years.

As Flint faces takeover from the state for maintaining what may be a $40 million-plus deficit, the council saw little opportunity to maintain the facility. Councilman Lawrence B. Murphy was resigned to the sale, telling the Flint Journal “[W]e truly have a jewel here, but we’re going to lose it.”

The jewel in question may need as much as $8 million in repairs and renovation to keep it operable. Last winter there were reports of rodent infestation and a heating system that was in such bad repair that basketball fans had to wear their winter parkas indoors during games. The huge space heaters brought in to alleviate the cold often drowned the sounds taking place on the court.

Flint city council members had discussed having Genesee County take over the jewel but found Shukairy’s offer to be the best of several alternatives.