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The Buffalo News (New York)


The Town of Tonawanda could take the first step toward replacing the Brighton Arena hockey rink with a new facility when the Town Board votes tonight on a $400,000 proposal to hire an architectural firm to design the project.

Councilman Daniel J. Crangle said the town's two rinks - Brighton and Lincoln arenas - are each about 60 years old.

He said the Department of Youth, Parks and Recreation would like to demolish Brighton Pool and the wading pool and build a regulation ice rink with concessions, locker rooms, showers and seating areas next to Brighton Arena. Demolition of the existing arena is currently not part of the plan, according to Crangle, who said the town is still studying how to use both if a new rink is built.

Crangle said that the cost of a new arena would be borne by taxpayers and that the town would need to bond $8 million for the project. "There's no state funding, but we will be seeking funding from state leaders to offset the cost," he said.

One reason that Brighton was chosen for the new rink over Lincoln Arena is its proximity to Interstate 290, which would allow the town to sell the naming rights. Offers for naming rights already have been received, he said.

During its meeting at 7 o'clock tonight, the board will consider the $400,000 planning bond to hire Carmina Woods Morris as a consultant to do design and engineering work, as well as an engineering plan for demolition and construction.

Nine months ago, hundreds of hockey players, coaches and families made their plea to the board to update town hockey facilities. They told the board that they were taking their children to newer facilities, such as the Northtown Center at Amherst. Organizations are paying thousands of dollars to rent ice time in other municipalities rather than playing in an outdated arena in their own backyard, Crangle said.

Brighton Arena is smaller than a regulation-size rink, and space is limited. There are no lockers, just hooks to hang clothes. There are no showers, and when girls play on mixed teams, they have to change in a small storage office, Crangle said. Referees change in a narrow storage room.

There are 1,114 registered hockey players in the town, Crangle said, but more than half - 668 - play outside the town. He said Brighton is open only five months a year, but a new arena could extend that to 10 months a year and rent out the ice to local organizations. In the two months of downtime - June and July - the arena could be used for roller skating, in-line hockey, volleyball and other sports, as well as for camps, clinics and birthday parties.

"It could attract a lot more organizations," Crangle said.

"Also, (an arena at one location) would be better for the taxpayer. It would save us on personnel and equipment, and everything would be centrally located."

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March 12, 2018


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