Weekly Feature



2018-04-11 / Front Page

Town Board presents ice arena study

by ANNA DEROSA Editor

The Tonawanda Town Board is keeping the discussion open about the possibility of a new ice rink at Brighton Arena along with a Lincoln Arena field house.

At Monday’s board meeting, Recreation Supervisor Jeff Rainey presented a Facility Improvement Plan, which detailed information about the rink and field house, a project totaling $7.1 million.

This past fall, a study was prepared by Ballard*King & Associates, LTD., a recreation consulting firm specializing in recreation and sports center feasibility studies, parks and recreation master plans, and other assessments and services.

The study included an executive summary, market assessment in addition to a demographic study, participation and trends, alternate service providers and an operation analysis.

Residents can review the full Arena Feasibility Study at www.tonawanda.ny.us.

During the presentation, Rainey noted that the town’s arenas are 60 years old and the current amenities are insufficient compared to other community facilities in the area. Ice surface and ice quality are also below standards of the arenas in the area.

The proposal for a new arena would include a year-round facility for hockey, figure skating, sled hockey, recreational skating, broomball and curling. According to the presentation, the viewing capacity would increase to approximately 750 spectators, and there would be up to six full-service locker rooms.

At the meeting, Councilwoman Lisa Chimera noted that the idea is for a “community ice rink” for the town’s families and community.

Additionally, a new arena would allow the ability to host area tournaments needing additional ice as well as in-house tournaments.

In the study, the projected expenses for the facility’s personnel expenses, for both full-time and part-time staff, is $337,062, with $98,000 for supplies. This totals $435,062.

The revenue projection — which includes admissions, rentals, program and other revenue — totaled $635,890. According to the study, the revenue/expense comparison, without debt service, would then include a profit of $200,828.

For the overall project, the cost of the bond would be $8 million under a 25-year-term and 4 percent interest.

The estimated profit/loss, including the bond payment, would be a loss of $269,200.

A plan for the Lincoln Arena field house would include a year-round heated indoor turf facility. It would be a community playground for soccer, rugby, football, baseball, softball, cheerleading, lacrosse and field hockey, among other sports.

There would also be field rentals and batting cage rentals, as well as the ability to provide camps and clinics for multiple sports.

The projections for the field house include a revenue of $333,060 and expenditures of $142,361. This would result in a profit of $190,699.

“There are different ways to read all these numbers,” Supervisor Joseph Emminger said, adding that the affordability of the ice rink comes into play as well.

During public expression, many residents expressed their comments or had questions about the numbers involved in the study.

While there were supporters of the new ice rink, from residents who have lived in the town for more than 20 years or those who have recently moved to the town, there were also residents who weren’t in favor.

Some residents noted that an increase in their taxes would be worth it due to the services that would be provided and to keep young families in the town while others questioned whether it’s a smart move due to the cost and other issues that could be addressed, such as roads.

Individuals can send their questions or comments on the topic to ttypr@tonawanda.ny.us.

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