ADVERTISEMENT

LOCKPORT – Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano, the prime mover behind a plan to construct a twin-rink ice complex in downtown Lockport, said last week that demolition of the former supermarket on the site won’t begin until this fall.

Ottaviano also said a fundraising drive, which he hopes can raise between $1 million and $2 million, will begin in July.

He and the other organizers of the nonprofit Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center project had hoped that the wrecking ball would begin to swing at the old Jubilee store on Chestnut Street this month.

But Ottaviano said prices are rising and the project is being delayed. For example, word from the experts hired to plan the complex is that it will cost $1 million more than expected to deal with the hill on the site.

“It’s not insurmountable, but it does add to the cost,” he said.

Last September, when celebrating a record $4 million grant from Lockport’s Grigg-Lewis Foundation, Ottaviano had estimated the cost of the project at $14 million.

Now, he said, “We know, but we haven’t sat down with the banks yet ... Within a week, we’ll have a definite estimate on what the cost will be.” Last fall, he spoke of a $6.5 million bank loan and the sale of $3 million in federal tax credits to investors.

The drop in grade from Chestnut Street to Union Street at the rear of the parcel is 23 feet. Because of that, the twin-rink complex is envisioned as a split-level plan, with a driveway from Market Street, the rinks and the players’ entrance at the bottom of the hill and the public entrance at the top, on Chestnut Street.

Ottaviano said spectators will look down on the action below.

Money-saving ideas are front and center now. The bank note’s maturity can be stretched from the hoped-for 15 years to 20 years, he said.

“There’s other ways [to save],” the attorney added. “You can have the Cadillac refrigeration or the standard refrigeration. The standard will save you half a million dollars, but the Cadillac will save you 42 percent on energy costs.”

Ottaviano confessed that it would have been cheaper to find a vacant lot someplace and build the complex there.

“There’s a price tag to economic development and downtown revitalization, and it’s $1 million” for this project, he told reporters.

As for the fundraising effort, “One million dollars would be nice; $2 million would be fantastic.”

With the financing delay, it was decided to hold off on demolition until after the Labatt Canal Concert Series ends in August.

The venue for the Friday night rock shows has been moved this year to a municipal parking lot right across Chestnut Street from the rink site.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com