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Arena Officials Halfway To Funding Goal

Left, Keith Martin, Northwest Arena general manager, and Megan Arnone, Northwest Arena marketing and communications director, discuss The Zone project during a Jamestown City Council work session meeting Monday. The Zone is the new indoor activities venue for children in downtown Jamestown that will utilize underused space in Northwest Arena to create a new center focused on technology and play, encouraging kids to explore STEAM principles through physical activity. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Northwest Arena officials are asking the greater Jamestown community to meet them halfway as they try to go over the top of their fundraising goal for the new interactive children’s play area “The Zone.”

On Monday, arena officials Keith Martin, general manager, Megan Arnone, marketing and communications director, and John LaMancuso, Jamestown Center City Development Corp. board member, discussed The Zone project during a Jamestown City Council work session meeting.

The Zone is the new indoor activities venue for children in downtown Jamestown that will utilize underused space in Northwest Arena to create a new center focused on technology and play, encouraging kids to explore STEAM principles through physical activity.

Martin said arena officials are almost halfway to its $4 million fundraising goal to manufacture and install the interactive exhibits in The Zone. Jack Rouse Associates and Cortina Productions, who also worked on the National Comedy Center project, will create the exhibits at The Zone. Arena officials will be working closely with youth organizations in the area to provide children access once The Zone is opened. In the free play area, children will be able to play all kinds of different sports and games, and there is even an overhead jumbotron that will show instant replays. The Zone will also include a toddler bullpen for infants.

Children will also be given an RFID chip to record each experience they have at The Zone, so they know when they’ve hit a personal best score.

The overall cost of the project is $8.5 million, which includes the construction of the now completed three-floor addition to the arena. Martin said several foundations — Gebbie Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation and Chautauqua Region Community Foundation — have provided grants toward the project. The state has also provided a $450,000 Empire State Development grant and local businesses and individuals have donated money. To donate to The Zone, visit funatthezone.org.

Martin told a story to the council about how recently the arena hosted fourth-grade students from Bush Elementary school who, as part of an Olympic-themed education program, visited to watch the Jamestown Rebels practice hockey. Martin said while the children were departing the bus he heard one say they had never been on a bus before and he heard another child state this was their first field trip. He said the arena is an important venue because it can provide new experiences to children throughout the area.

“This is why we are here,” he said. “The Zone will be an even bigger part of this.”

Arnone said the arena host around 250,000 guests a year, with an additional 45,000 more expected once The Zone is open. She said the cost will be $10 a child for county residents and a little bit higher for non-residents.

LaMancuso said The Zone will make the arena a year-round venue, which will be Americans With Disabilities Act accessible. He said the arena isn’t just for hockey players and figure skaters, but also provides other entertainment and experiences, like ice bumper cars.

“It will be a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art play place for children right here in downtown Jamestown,” he said. “We want to deliver The Zone project, especially for the kids.”

In other business, the council approved a resolutions to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to purchase 75 new service duty pistols for $9,643 and $40,000 to purchase mobile data terminals for 12 police vehicles.

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