LOCKPORT – Tuesday will be a big day in Lockport, as the city will hold two groundbreaking ceremonies for major projects, 90 minutes apart.
The bigger of the two is the 3 p.m. event to mark the start of work on the $12 million Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center, a twin-rink complex to be erected at 34 Chestnut St.
An excavator from Mulvey Construction of Lockport will take a bite out of the vacant former Jubilee supermarket, which is to be torn down to make way for the rink.
At 4:30 p.m., a smaller event in Outwater Park will mark the beginning of the Fallen Heroes Memorial, which is intended to honor all Lockport natives and residents who died in the line of military, police or firefighting duty. That project is budgeted at $150,000, but funds still need to be raised.
The necessary money is almost in hand for the arena, which is officially a private, nonprofit project, although top city officials are deeply involved in it.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said that there will be a capital campaign but that a bank mortgage will supplement grant money already in hand from Lockport’s Grigg-Lewis Foundation and the state Dormitory Authority.
John J. Earshen of the Mattison Group, an East Amherst fundraising consultant, will be in charge of obtaining donations. “We’ve identified the other funding that’s necessary,” Ottaviano said.
The organization is hoping for another state grant. The rink is on the shortlist of Western New York projects being considered in this fall’s round of state grant funding as submitted to Albany by the Westen New York Regional Economic Development Council.
Last year, the Grigg-Lewis Foundation gave the arena project $4 million, its biggest grant ever.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without the Grigg-Lewis Foundation,” Ottaviano said.
Mulvey Construction handled asbestos removal from the old store, which was a Sears and a Twin Fair before Jubilee took it over. It has been vacant for more than 10 years.
Waterbourne Construction Advisors of Getzville has been contracted to oversee the construction of the complex, designed by Orchard Park architect James Bammel. Firland Management of Lewiston, Maine, will manage the arena. Jack Martin of Lockport’s J. Fitzgerald Group will be the marketing and communications consultant. Opening day has been targeted for Sept. 14, 2014.
The city committee in charge of the Fallen Heroes Memorial has a sketch design and hopes to use Tuesday’s event in Outwater Park to generate public interest and donations.
Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick said that the $150,000 price is “a moving target” and that the Common Council will have to vote on the final design. But no city funds will be used, Mayor Michael W. Tucker pledged.
“The plan is going to be to move ahead in earnest and explore various fundraising options,” Genewick said.