LOCKPORT – A $1 million grant from the state this week was good news for the developers of Lockport’s new ice arena, but they remain $4 million short of the amount needed to complete the $12 million project.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano, who is among the prime movers of the not-for-profit twin-rink complex, said after Wednesday’s Albany announcement that he will be meeting today with a large potential donor in hopes of obtaining funds to help fill the gap.
“We’re looking to the community for $2 million in our capital campaign,” said R. Charles Bell, city director of planning and development.
But small donations from ordinary residents aren’t the focus, although they will be accepted at www.lockportice.org.
“We’re seeking donations from corporate sources,” Ottaviano said.
Bell said foundations also are being asked for grants. The Grigg-Lewis Foundation of Lockport already gave the project $4 million. There’s also a $4 million bank mortgage.
“It’s not as daunting as it might seem,” Bell said. The Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center, as the project is officially known, is willing to sell naming rights to parts of the rink.
Some of those deals already are being negotiated, said Ottaviano.
In the meantime, asbestos removal work continues inside the former supermarket on Chestnut Street that is to be demolished to make way for the rink. Bell said more asbestos than expected was found inside, but actual demolition should start in a week or two.
The $1 million grant approved by the state’s Regional Economic Development Council was the largest in Niagara County. Others included two grants totaling $268,450 to the Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier for restoration of the former office building at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda.
The City of North Tonawanda received $208,125 to design and build improvements to the marinas at Gratwick-Riverside Park. The city also scored $144,707 to extend a bicycle path along the Erie Canal about 1.1 miles from the corner of Payne Avenue and Sweeney Street to Mayor’s Park.
The Lumber City Development Corp. won $200,000 to assist renovation projects for owners of buildings on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda. And the Riviera Theatre received $42,343 toward a new digital film projector system.
The Isaiah 61 Project in Niagara Falls will create a job-training center at a former fire station on Highland Avenue with a $132,000 grant.
TAM Ceramics of the Falls won a $250,000 grant for recycling minerals from components such as magnets.
The Town of Porter received $34,250 and the Village of Lewiston $20,250 to prepare new local waterfront revitalization plans.
And Niagara County Community College won $25,397 to train 60 long-term unemployed persons to work in customer service jobs.