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CITY OF WATERTOWN, NEW YORK

CITY HALL
245 WASHINGTON STREET
WATERTOWN, NEW YORK 13601-3380
(315) 785-7730
OFFICE OF
THE CITY COUNCIL

PRESS RELEASE
March 26, 2015

For Immediate Release


Contact: Office of the City Council

COUNCILWOMAN ROXANNE M. BURNS


STATEMENT ON WATERTOWN MUNICIPAL ARENA

Councilwoman Roxanne Burns today issued a statement regarding planned


improvements to the Watertown Arena. Burns stated I do not believe that the Arena is being
thought of in the context of what it is namely, an asset. Our greatest asset is our wonderful
residents. Additionally, we are fortunate to have several major physical assets within the City
the first being Flower Memorial Library, followed by Thompson Park and the Arena. Together,
they help define what makes this a special place to live. They help give the City its soul and
vitality, something that cant be found in big box shopping plazas.
Burns noted that over the years, significant investments have been made in both the
library and park, yet the Arena has lagged behind. She stated This is a once in a generation
opportunity, and if we are going to make the improvements, we should do it right. To come back
at some future time to complete the task will be more expensive. We have one of only a handful
of multi-purpose public venues between Syracuse and Canada, and the people of the North
County deserve a quality, functioning facility.
Burns is also proposing a different way to manage and market the facility. She stated
The Arena is a regional facility which happens to be in the City. I recommend that we enter
into discussions with neighboring Towns who benefit from the Arena to explore avenues
whereby other municipalities can help us maximize this asset. A renovated Arena needs to be
marketed as a regional facility, and we need to bring in someone with that background. Our
Parks and Recreation Department does an excellent job for the residents, but this is a completely
different ball of wax. We need to think bigger.

CITY OF WATERTOWN, NEW YORK


CITY HALL
245 WASHINGTON STREET
WATERTOWN, NEW YORK 13601-3380
(315) 785-7730
OFFICE OF
THE CITY COUNCIL

Burns also identifies additional funding sources which could lessen the financial impact.
She noted that in addition to increased revenues resulting from an updated facility, an additional
3 million dollars has been granted to offset the Citys share of the Factory Street Reconstruction
project, thereby freeing up funds that could be allocated to the Arena without increase to debt
service cost. Additionally, Burns stated The City constructed the Arena and has maintained it
for more than forty years. As a regional facility we should be asking the state to help with the
cost of renovations. They do it everywhere else in the state why not here?
For example, Burns noted that just a year ago the state committed $30 million for an
amphitheater on Onondaga Lake. The proposed state budget has $2.6 billion in lump sum,
unidentified mystery appropriations. The state has previously received $5.4 billion from
settlements relating to fraudulent investment practices, with an additional $1.2 billion received in
just the last week. Burns asked Why not make an investment in the North Country? Burns is
recommending that the City Council solicit financial support from Governor Cuomo, Senator
Ritchie and Assemblywoman Russell.
Burns concluded Some have stated that I consider the Arena my legacy. That is not true
my children are my legacy. The reality is that the people who DID create a legacy are those
listed on the plaque at the Arena entrance. Mayor Karl Burns and the other members of that City
Council were people of vision. We now want to bring that vision up to modern day standards.
The people of the North Country deserve it, and that is why I support a fully functioning modern
Arena.