Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 12, 2013

Ice arena scores funding

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

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.

The facility will host a two-pad hockey arena with related retail support services.

“This is tremendous news because this project is in the heart of Lockport,” said state Sen. George Maziarz. “The Lockport Ice Arena will demolish a long vacant supermarket and will bring much needed capital investment and tourism to that location. I am pleased that the Regional Economic Development Council saw this project’s importance to Lockport and has made it a priority.”

Statewide, $715.9 million was awarded during the third round of council funding. A total of 824 projects received awards.

In Western New York, $1 million went to the University at Buffalo to expand its high performance computing and data analytics center located at the Buffalo Niagara campus. It’ll provide regional industry and organizations with on-demand, immediate access to advanced computing and storage infrastructure, state officials said.

Another $1 million went to Chautauqua County for modernizing water infrastructure to help industrial businesses improve efficiency.

Then $500,000 was awarded to Alfred State College to create a highly energy efficient facility to train students in state-of-the-art sustainable manufacturing techniques.

And $250,000 was awarded to TAM Ceramics to expand manufacturing operations in Niagara Falls.

MORE INSIDE: Cuomo awards job grants to 824 projects statewide. NEWS/2A

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.