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$80M sports and events center proposed in town of Watertown

$80M sports and events center proposed in town of Watertown

TOWN OF WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – A more than 500,000-square-foot sports and events center could be coming to Watertown.

Everything from basketball and volleyball to track and ice hockey. The proposed $80 million facility is aiming to be a major draw for sporting events in upstate New York.

Renderings are out for the Thousand Islands Event Center. Town of Watertown Supervisor Joel Bartlett is heading the project with the Thousand Islands Local Development Corporation along with other architects and developers.

It would be 520,000-square-feet, and include 8 basketball courts, an indoor track, 2 hockey rinks, and 16 volleyball courts. That goes along with 3 outdoor turf fields and 2 indoor fields for sports like lacrosse.

Plus, there would be a multi-purpose arena seating up to 9,000 people. The proposal also calls for two ice rinks with arena seating of up to 3,000 people.

This is a project that’s been talked about for years. What’s new now? The size of the project. It’s about 3 times the size of a 2018 plan both in scale of the facility, and cost.

The T.I.L.D.C. says there is no modern, large-scale sports and special events center in the Thousand Islands region, forcing families to drive hours to other facilities.

The facility would be on Route 3 in the town of Watertown by the agricultural business park. The goal is to attract people to Watertown from across upstate New York and Canada.

Fifty jobs would be created.

The projections call for 250 event days annually, bringing in more than 93,000 new visitors to the area. The T.I.L.D.C. believes that would generate about $24 million in additional spending from those visitors.

Where will the $80 million come from for the project? Officials say $35 million will be from taxable bonds, $15 million will come from private equity, and the T.I.L.D.C is trying to secure the remaining $30 million from the state.

We reached out to officials at the governor’s office, but they declined to comment on the project.

Supervisor Bartlett was not available for comment as well.

We’re still working to learn whether the T.I.L.D.C. will be able to secure that $30 million in state funding.

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