Arena Officials Want To Buy City Land For New Addition

Jamestown City Council members discussed the proposal by Northwest Arena officials to purchase city property for their proposed expansion.

Tom Nelson, Ward 6 councilman, said the Public Works Committee moved the land purchase proposal to the Planning Commission who will now review the arena’s land purchasing plans. Nelson said arena officials want to purchase 98-by-9 feet of city property that is currently being used as a sidewalk and parking area. The property is located south of the arena and on the east side of the facility near where the proposed addition would be built.

Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said if the proposal was approved, the traffic pattern around the arena would change slightly, but West Second and Lafayette streets would still remain open and new sidewalk would be installed. He said as part of the proposed process for arena officials to buy the land, the Planning Commission needs to approve the proposal before it is brought back before the council for a vote. He added the Planning Commission would also need to approve the arena’s site plan for the proposed addition before any changes would be made.

In August, Kristy Zabrodsky and David Leathers, co-presidents for the Northwest Arena Board, spoke about the preliminary plans for the expansion at the arena, which is located at 319 W. Third St., with the city’s Planning Commission. The plan is to construct a new addition to hold a Kids Zone play area; create gift shop and office spaces for the National Comedy Center; to add a concession stand to sell snacks and water; and to enhance the third floor conference room. The project is being proposed to cost around $5 million.

Zabrodsky said the project is being headed by Northwest Arena officials to produce more revenue so the facility isn’t reliant on funding from the Gebbie Foundation each year. She said when the arena was built in 2001, the Gebbie Foundation funded $20 million for its construction. Also, the Gebbie Foundation granted money toward the debt service and has been making an operations grant each year to the facility.

Zabrodsky said they want to do the expansion project to eliminate the Gebbie Foundation’s annual operations grant so the funding can go toward other worthwhile projects in downtown Jamestown. She said by drawing more people to the arena, they will create more revenue so the facility can be self-sustaining.

Another goal of the project is to make the facility more useable year-round and not just reliant on seasonal winter activities like skating and hockey. Zabrodsky said the arena has about 250,000 visitors a year.

Leathers said the new 5,000 square feet addition to the arena would be for the Kids Zone. He said the Kids Zone would be ideal for parents who want to leave their children some place safe while they tour the National Comedy Center or while one of their other children participate in a skating activity.

Leathers said the proposed concession space would not be a restaurant or bar, but would only sell snacks, deli sandwiches, water and soda.

The project would also include a new redesigned office space for arena officials. Zabrodsky said currently arena staff members are located throughout the building instead of conveniently in one location.

Leathers said the new third level conference room, which could also be used for catered meals, would be redesigned to enhance the experience with views of the ice rink and downtown Jamestown. The new third floor layout would also include office space for National Comedy Center employees, who would lease the space from arena officials. The potential project also includes the National Comedy Center leasing space for a gift shop on the first floor.

In other council business, the Finance Committee discussed the $400,000 state Department of Transportation grant the city received for wayfinding and signage in the downtown. Teresi said they were able to apply for the grant because the Gebbie Foundation covered the 20 percent local match of $100,000 in order to qualify to receive the funding.