PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Rivermen fans are still hopeful that the team will remain in Peoria.

Fans from the group Operation Save the Rivermen are advocating at Peoria Civic Center Authority Board Meetings as well as city council meetings.

“Our goal is that this lease will be renewed and everyone will kind of recognize the importance that Rivermen hockey has here,” said Emily Hagaman, wife of Rivermen’s captain Alec Hagaman.

The team’s contract with the Peoria Civic Center ends on May 31. Though time is ticking, Hagaman said fans will not stop showing their support.

“We’re going to continue to show up. We’re going to continue to do what we have to do and come to all of these meetings and be a presence here because this does mean something to a lot of people,” said Hagaman.

In addition to a new lease agreement, the ice plant also needs to be repaired. According to the Authority Board, the city of Peoria has proposed a $20 million investment into the civic center for capital improvements. Combined with the $25 million dollar grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Civic Center is still $2 million short from the initial estimate of $47 million needed. This estimate was totaled in 2019.

“With that being in 2019 the cost of almost everything has gone up. So, it doesn’t mean all of the problems are solved. It just means we’re better prepared to address them,” said Yvonne Greer-Batton, Authority Board Chairwoman.

However, if extra funding is secured, it wouldn’t be feasible to get another ice plant installed until next year. Plans for a new ice plant are contingent upon the Rivermen and the Civic Center coming to an agreement.

“Even though we would have the money to replace the ice plant, that is not a guarantee that the team would stay at the Peoria Civic Center. We at the Authority have agreed to negotiate in good faith and we hope that the Rivermen are going to do the same and see if we can come to a successful contract agreement,” said Greer-Batton.

The city of Peoria will discuss capital funding for the Civic Center at the next council meeting on Feb. 28.