New city of Watertown water superintendent set to be hired

The city will soon have a new water superintendent to replace Michael J. Sligar, who retired two weeks ago after 36 years of service with the city. [Read more…]

Watertown home show opens in new home with 60 exhibitors

Eric Vanderlan, right, owner of N.V. Landscaping, installs tiles during Thursday afternoon set up of his booth at the 40th annual North Country Home Show at Watertown Municipal Arena. This marks the first major event at the newly renovated facility. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Eric Vanderlan, right, owner of N.V. Landscaping, installs tiles during Thursday afternoon set up of his booth at the 40th annual North Country Home Show at Watertown Municipal Arena. This marks the first major event at the newly renovated facility. Photo by Stephen Swofford, Watertown Daily Times.

Phillip N. Reed, executive director of the Northern New York Builders Exchange, is ready to roll out the 40th North Country Home Show as the first major event in the renovated Watertown Municipal Arena. [Read more…]

Minimum bid for naming rights for Watertown ice rink to be $50,000

City Council members want the city to get what it financially deserves for the renaming rights of the Watertown Municipal Arena, so they informally agreed on Monday night to increase the minimum bid to $50,000 a year. [Read more…]

DPOA, organizations will have to obtain vendors for arena

Foundation President Joseph L. Rich was surprised to find out Thursday morning that the Disabled Persons Action Organization will have to get its own concession stand vendor for its May 24 Kenny Rogers concert at the renovated Watertown Municipal Arena. [Read more…]

Council members reject bid for arena concession stand

The city is still without a concessionaire to run the snack bar at the newly renovated Watertown Municipal Arena.

By a 3-1 vote, City Council members on Monday night rejected the only qualified bidder to run the ice rink’s concession stand after deciding a $350-a-month bid from Maggie’s on the River was too low. [Read more…]

Two vendors submit bids for Watertown arena’s concession stand

Two companies have come forward to operate the concession stand in the newly-renovated Watertown Municipal Arena when bids were opened Thursday morning. [Read more…]

Arena concession stand attracts no bids; city officials regroup

WATERTOWN — The city was left scrambling to find someone to run the concession stand at the newly renovated Watertown Municipal Arena after no one submitted a bid by Wednesday morning’s deadline. [Read more…]

September 2015 Cover Story: Youth Sports

A competitive growth industry

The Watertown Giants get pumped up before their Pop Warner football game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds in Watertown, August 29, 2015. Photo by Coty Giannelli, NNY Business.

The Watertown Giants get pumped up before their Pop Warner football game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds in Watertown, August 29, 2015. Photo by Coty Giannelli, NNY Business.

As participation in youth sport multiplies, businesses, organizers see new opportunities for positive regional economic activity

By Ken Eysaman, NNY Business editor [Read more…]

Rochester consultant proposes $9.7 million to $11.1 million arena upgrade

A Rochester consulting firm projects that a major upgrade of the nearly 40-year-old Watertown Municipal Arena could cost as much as $11.1 million, up from an estimate of $3.6 million several years ago.

On Thursday, the city released a 116-page report outlined by Stantec Consulting Services, which was commissioned to design the much-anticipated project. For years, the Watertown City Council and other city officials have discussed a major upgrade at the municipal arena, even having a report completed by Bernier, Carr & Associates in 2009.

Stantec has proposed three options with costs ranging from $9.7 million to $11.1 million, depending on the amenities included and how the space is configured in the facility at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

All three options involve adding two-story wings on the front and back of the building; expanding the front to include a new lobby; creating more space for the concession stand, and putting in more restrooms. The additions would include office space and multipurpose rooms.

The upgrade also would feature a second entrance for players and Parks and Recreation Department staff; a new locker room for the Watertown Privateers hockey team; a hospitality room for concert performers; a new office for the parks department, and a staff break room.

Work would include making much-needed repairs to the roof and trusses and installing a new fire suppression system. For several years, the roof has leaked during heavy rain. Three more parking lots would be added.

Noting he did not think it would remain at the $3.6 million figure, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said he set the renovations as the only topic for Monday’s night Watertown City Council work session, saying he wanted to get council members’ guidance before the project proceeded any further.

“I didn’t expect what it was, but it requires more discussion,” he said, adding he had presumed the project would be more about adding restrooms and improving locker rooms. “I didn’t think it would be a second floor, an elevator and a yoga room.”

The mayor was referring to plans that call for the public no longer to enter the ice rink from street level, but access would come from above with people walking down to their seats from the second floor.

In explaining the costs, City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk said the new report has more detailed amenities and design costs, while the Bernier, Carr & Associates study had just preliminary projections. It was completed for the Department of Public Works, he said.

“It’s apples and oranges,” he said. “It’s not a good comparison.”

When they approved a $99,700 contract with Stantec in July, City Council members mentioned the $3.6 million projection, but they all agreed an extensive renovation was well overdue. Mr. Hauk said it will be up to the council to decide whether to proceed with what was proposed.

The most expensive option would feature “all the bells and whistles,” Mr. Hauk said. For instance, option one features a second-floor reviewing window to watch hockey games, while seats would be added in that area under the most expensive option, he said.

Further design work would be completed by March and the project would go out to bid early next winter, with construction starting during the spring of 2015 and being completed the following fall, before the hockey season.

-Craig Fox, Watertown Daily Times