Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 13, 2013

Arena fundraising campaign to be launched

Staff reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A fundraising campaign for the nascent Lockport Ice Arena & Sports Complex will be launched in July.

The non-profit organizing committee will aim to raise between $1 million and $2 million in donations from the public at large, to invest in arena construction and outfitting, chairman John Ottaviano said Wednesday. The tentative opening date is still autumn 2014.

The committee is developing the arena at 34 Chestnut St., where the existing building, which last housed a supermarket, is to be demolished. Building on that site will end up costing about $1 million more than erecting a facility on vacant land, Ottaviano said.

Up to now, while design engineering is ongoing, the committee has assumed a ballpark figure of $10 million for a facility with two ice pads, spectator seating, locker rooms, “dry” recreation space and hospitality and sport-related retail areas.

A final project cost estimate should be in hand within a few weeks, Ottaviano said.

Presently, he said, design engineers are looking at ways to minimize and/or absorb the cost of covering an almost 24-foot elevation change on the site between Chestnut and Union streets. The committee has a split-level structure in mind, with entrances for visitors/spectators on Chestnut Street and the ice pads accessible from Union Street.

Of demolition at 34 Chestnut, Ottaviano said it’s on hold until after the end of the 2013 Labatt Canal Concert Series, which is playing out in the city parking lot across Chestnut. The committee had been aiming for a late June/early July demolition start but facility design issues weren’t resolved in time, he said. The delay does resolve concerns about concertgoers’ safety so near a construction zone, he added.

Details on the arena capital campaign will be released next month. Of the $10 million-plus that it’ll have to raise, the committee already obtained a $4 million pledge from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation. The balance will be covered by combination of capital donations, a bank loan and cash raised from the sale of federal New Market Tax Credits.