Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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December 12, 2013

Ice arena scores funding

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Lockport Ice Arena & Sports Center has gotten a big assist from the state with funding that could make a longstanding goal a reality.

The long-awaited ice arena will receive $1 million in funding through the third round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday, stating that the Western New York region will receive $60.8 million in total.

The Regional Economic Development Council’s goal is to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, state officials said.

The 93,500-square-foot arena project is tabbed at $13 million, making Wednesday’s announcement a welcome one in terms of financing.

“We’re very excited,” said Chuck Bell, the city’s director of planning and development who is also the vice president of the arena. 

A $4 million grant from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation and another $4 million in the site mortgage make up the biggest part of the arena’s financing. Just counting the definite, financial commitments, financing for the arena has a $4 million gap.

But Bell said the group was confident in $2 million worth of grants and funds dedicated to the project, meaning a funding gap of $2 million remains.

And now, a capital campaign has begun to raise the remaining $2 million in donations. Bell said there would be some other funding opportunities, such as arena naming rights.

City Corp. Counsel John J. Ottaviano, also the president of the arena, said the group is looking for donations from companies and businesses. But individuals can make donations as well by going to the arena website, www.lockportice.org.

Workers broke ground on the arena in October. Interior work continues while exterior demolition is expected to take place in the next few weeks, Bell said.

The demolition will be handled by Mulvey Construction, while Waterbourne Construction Advisors will begin construction of the double-rink once the site has been cleared. The arena is set to be open in the fall of 2014.

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