LOCKPORT – City leaders are hoping that Cornerstone CFCU Arena, as the city’s new ice rink will be called, will bring 150,000 visitors a year to Lockport in the form of hockey players, parents, fans and travel teams.
“This is simply not an ice rink. It’s a foundation for future optimism,” said A. Angelo DiMillo, vice chairman of the Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union Board, at a news conference Wednesday in front of the arena on Chestnut Street.
Even though the structure, whose price is now estimated at $14 million, isn’t enclosed yet, John J. Ottaviano, president of the not-for-profit group building the twin-rink complex, vowed that it will be ready for opening about Sept. 20.
A new Junior A hockey team, the Lockport Express, and numerous high school and youth hockey organizations certainly hope so.
The press event was held to officially announce that Cornerstone, a Lockport credit union with 47,000 members, has purchased naming rights to the complex for 12 years.
Ottaviano, who is also Lockport city attorney, said Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center, the not-for-profit agency, is selling further naming rights to the interior of the building.
For example, he said, Heinrich Chevrolet of Lockport is near a deal to buy naming rights to one of the arena’s two rinks and one of its two Zambonis.
He said there will be other deals, but declined to disclose them. “They all want their individual announcements,” Ottaviano said.
Financial terms of Cornerstone’s contribution weren’t disclosed, because of a confidentiality agreement.
“It’s an exciting day for Lockport. It’s an exciting day for Cornerstone,” said David A. Nemi, its board chairman.
“This arena means so much to so many of us. I fondly remember spending so many days of my childhood ice skating at the Kenan Center,” Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said. “For many years, families have been waiting for ice to return to the city.”
Lockport’s Grigg-Lewis Foundation gave $4 million, its largest grant ever. The arena group is carrying a $4 million bank mortgage and is still trying to solicit donations.
Those who want to give up to $1,000 may do so by clicking on a puck at www.lockportice.org.
Ottaviano said the arena plans to offer needs-based “scholarships” and equipment loans to allow underprivileged children to play hockey.
The arena management will come from Firland Management of Lewiston, Maine. Bob Filighera, currently manager of the ice rink in Batavia, also run by Firland, has been transferred to Lockport as manager of the new complex.
Waterbourne Construction Advisors of Getzville is in charge of construction of the arena, designed by Orchard Park architect James Bammel.