Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

October 14, 2012

HOPKINS: When built, arena must fill gaps

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The cost of electricity alone to keep a 200-by-85-foot sheet of ice frozen will be high. Throw in lighting, heating, staff, insurance, maintenance and other overhead, and you can see that an arena is an expensive project. A building that’s idle for several hours during the day still requires many of those costly items.

Many of the ice rinks are municipally owned, so making a profit isn’t important. The key with a privately-owned arena in Lockport — or anywhere for that matter — will be to find a way to get those off-prime hours filled.

Members of the Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Complex group, I’m sure, are acutely aware of the hurdles they’ll encounter.

It won’t be easy, but a rink here will be enticing to hockey players and others who are traveling half an hour or more for their activities.

An arena, managed properly, will also attract enough events that ordinarily don’t come to Lockport to create residual effects; more business at nearby restaurants, taverns and hotels, plus new businesses attracted by the potential customers traveling to their downtown destination.

I wish the Lockport arena group all the best in making the dream come true.

•••

Alex Karras, who passed away Oct. 10, will be remembered by people in many different ways.

To some, he was a defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions. To others, he was the godfather and adoptive father of Emmanuel Lewis in the 1980s sitcom “Webster.” And to still others — like myself — he was Mongo, the dimwitted brute who spoke in first person in the Mel Brooks classic “Blazing Saddles.”

My lasting memory of Karras is the scene where he’s pressing a dozen or so town folks against a saloon wall with an upright piano. That scene still makes me laugh out loud, even after watching it probably 50 times.

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