March 27, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of Cornerstone CFCU Arena

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of...

$15 Million Arena and Sports Center Is An Important Economic Hub and Community Resource For Lockport

Members of Gold-Winning Paralympic Team Assisted in Designing the Arena to Meet the Needs of Athletes With Special Needs

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of the new 93,500 square foot ice arena. The Cornerstone CFCU Arena is a $15 million dollar project designed to enhance the quality of life in the community by providing young people with easily accessible activities, while at the same time promoting physical fitness and developing good sportsmanship through supervised games. The arena is also an economic generator, expecting to attract more than 150,000 people each year for public skating, competitive hockey, skating lessons, private parties and performance training. These patrons could create a demand for more than 4,000 nights per year in area hotels. View the arena here.

"The opening of this ice arena is just another example of the success that can happen when we invest in each region from the ground up," Governor Cuomo said. "This completed project, one which the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council recognized, will bring new economic life to the community of Lockport. I encourage anyone looking to skate or play hockey to check out this new facility and see what it has to offer."

The state-of-the-art facility is located at the intersection of Chestnut and Market Street, just south of the historic Erie Canal that runs through the heart of downtown Lockport. The arena, designed by Bammel Architects, PC, houses two NHL-sized rinks, a community room and sports training facility for skaters of all ages. There is 2,000 square feet of tenant space for a restaurant as well as 630 seats for spectators, which are actually heated by the rink's refrigeration equipment.

"Our goal is to make Western New York a hockey destination" says John Ottaviano, chairman of the Cornerstone CFCU Arena. "The benefits from the arena will be felt throughout the region as teams will need to be accommodated in the Amherst and Niagara Falls area when a tournament is in town. This project is proof that we all benefit when we work together.”

The arena also offers opportunities for those with developmental disabilities and special needs. Two members of the gold medal-winning U.S. sled hockey team from the 2014 Paralympic Games, Adam Page and Paul Schaus, worked with the architects to fine-tune specifications that are most suitable for persons with disabilities. Both are Erie County residents. Page, 22, who was born with spina bifida, played on the gold medal-winning U.S. sled hockey team at Vancouver in 2010 as well as last year’s in Sochi, Russia. Schaus, 25, is a former Marine who lost both legs above the knee in the explosion of an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2009.

City of Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey said, “It's been years since the residents of Lockport have seen a project of this magnitude in our city. The arena is an essential piece of the city’s redevelopment puzzle. We welcome the thousands of visitors, new jobs and increased business that have resulted from the completion of a project that serves the entire community.”

The Cornerstone CFCU Arena is a federally designated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. Funding for the project came from a bank mortgage and a $1 million grant from the Western New York Regional Economic Council, $1 million from the John R. Oishei Foundation, and a donation of $4 million from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation. A portion of Chestnut Street on the South side of the arena was re-named “Grigg-Lewis Way” as part of today’s grand opening ceremonies.

State Senator Rob Ortt said, “This ice arena is a catalyst for transformation in the City of Lockport and the entire region. Its first-class skating arena is sure to draw thousands of tourists for tournaments and competitions, which will amount to thousands of dollars being pumped into the economy. My colleagues and I are proud to have partnered with Cornerstone CFCU, the City of Lockport and several other local organizations that helped to make this project a reality.”

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin said, "Cornerstone CFCU Arena is only part of the new development and economic growth on the horizon for Lockport. There are many individuals and organizations that must be applauded for their efforts and dedication to our community, including the Grigg-Lewis Foundation, Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and many more. There is a tremendous economic benefit that this arena will bring to our local businesses and community and I look forward to working with the Governor, my colleagues in the legislature, including Senator Rob Ortt and Lockport City officials including Mayor Anne McCaffrey to continue the growth and success of Niagara County and the City of Lockport."

“I had many challenges in my life, but I never looked at those. I only saw what I could do and followed that path which led me to all of the positive accomplishments in my life,” said Adam Page, U.S sled hockey team member. “When the leaders of the city of Lockport had the dream and the vision to a build an ice rink that no one thought could be done, those leaders surrounded themselves with positive and motivated people who helped make that dream come true. I am proud to be working with such wonderful people.”

 

“The Cornerstone Arena is an REDC project that has multiple benefits for the City of Lockport,” said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. “The rink is providing wonderful recreation activities for area youth, attracting out-of-town hockey players and their families for tournaments, and furthering pride in the community. The new visitors to Lockport are helping to boost the economy by overnight hotel stays, dining in local restaurants, and visiting other area attractions. We are look forward to seeing the dividends of this project  grow as more leagues take advantage of this unique athletic arena.”

 

“It is appropriate that the facility is called the Cornerstone Arena because this REDC project is designed to function as a linchpin for economic activity in Lockport,” said Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Jeff Belt.  “The council is proud to support a project that is drawing thousands of new visitors to the area who will spend money in and around the city. Everyone wins when new jobs are created, area businesses see an increase in customers, and the community has a facility that promotes positive activities for young people. Congratulations to everyone involved in the success of the arena.”

 

The arena is home to the "Lockport Express" Junior "A" team which plays in the NA3EHL. The NA3EHL is managed by the North American Hockey League with the aim of developing student-athletes who hope to play in college.

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