Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Arena to Open to Public After a Year of Curiosity and Festering

       The Fairgrounds Arena opens to the public tomorrow with youth hockey practice and public skating. The public will see a building with tremendous potential for community events.
        The renovations arose from years of expanded usage coupled with the need for deferred maintenance and facilities that were shopworn. The vision was to give the City a new front door and the residents something they could enjoy. 
        Controversy swirled over the cost and when finally approved, the project continued as a pinata for some in media and self inflicted issues from the city itself.
        Much of that will fade in time and with use, but imaginative and responsible management is needed, starting with a can do attitude towards the current spat over a snack bar.
         It's a small and a large issue at the same time, and the petulant attitude towards Council and the dithering (to use a popular editorial term) has been epic.
         Take up the challenge and run the damn thing, and open the doors with a smile and a sense of pride and celebration.
http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/watertown-ice-arena-opening-slated-for-thursday-20160323

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wish this type of positivity was a widespread view of this blog, newzjunky, etc. and not only towards a certain few projects that a few have wanted. You are right, it is time to move on make this a positive. However, it will take leadership and salesmanship, and, you don't have that currently at that "front door." And this shouldn't be a "front door." Most communities with citizens that enjoy living there have these amenities. For us, I guess this is new. Most importantly, it needs to be sold as something that people can REASONABLY enjoy. I am afraid the powers that be want this to be a profit center and that is not going to happen. Cities with high level sports teams and usage understand this statewide and have to be creative...can these people do that?

Anonymous said...

What arena? How come I haven't heard anything about this?

Anonymous said...

You just can't let it go. Running it in-house is a dumb idea.
Maggie's would have paid a monthly fee to run it and now the city looking at spending money every month to run it themselves and do a worse job at running it to boot.

It is time to call Maggie's up, apologize and beg them to take the job.

Anonymous said...

Actually, how about Famous Dick's?? Since it's all about $$ and it is, they had the highest bid. Get it done!

Anonymous said...

7:56pm aka Erin Gardner,

The city has run that concession stand for years and made more money at it than the one "legitimate" bid you conned Maggie's (your favorite watering hole) into submitting. You don't want the responsibility, plain and simple. I don't know about you, but when my boss(es) give me an order, I do it. Because that's my job. If you valued yours, you'd run that concession stand with a smile, like this -> :)

Thank you, city council, for standing up for the taxpayer!

Anonymous said...

No Maggie's gets enough..

Anonymous said...

The city is not interested in making this a huge profit center as some may think, But after SPENDING OVER 10 Million Plus on it they at least owe it to the taxpayers of watertown to make sure it is self sufficient > meaning Maintenance, Wages, and all future upkeep. City leaders said build it and they will come , Well you built this under protest from city residents now its up to the ones on council who wanted this Major undertaking to make darn sure it is self sufficient.

Anonymous said...

These facilities are NEVER huge profit centers. Places with legitimate professional teams, places that average in the thousands for attendance at events struggle to break even. Sponsorships are getting harder and harder. That's the problem. This whole project was done for the WRONG reasons. The previous council screwed the whole thing up. This arena is no different than the pools, Thompson park, the ballfields, etc. Amenities. The operational costs far outweigh what a fair rent price would be. Also, whatever happened to naming rights?? Who in their right mind would want that now after this debacle? And wait until min. wage goes up. We just can't get out of our way and the new council has been given this hodgepodge.

Anonymous said...

9:46, your comment would make sense if it were not for the fact that lots of people have pointed out that the city shouldn't run it and that's why they were bidding it out.

And the city never made any money at a snack bar if you count the pensions, vacations, healthcare, and everything else that you are conveniently forgetting to count.

BTW...if you always did whatever you boss told you to do, then you never had a professional job.

Anonymous said...

I see the firefighters are planning a charity hockey game,and are bringing in an outside vendor to handle the food.The city charged them $250 for the vendor to come in,for a charity game,mighty generous of the city to do that,even though they have nothing to do with the outside vendor.

Anonymous said...

12:50, if the firefighters were truly charitably, they would be more reasonable and give up their built in OT that they screw the tax payers over. Just because they want to pay hockey and get discount rates, does not absolve them of their greed, even if they put the word "charity" on the game.

Anonymous said...

The COW should run it until another solution is found. They did it before so do it for now! Concessions are a part of the whole experience. Just ask a young child at the arena.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you don't know what you are talking about 6:57,your hate of the fire dept is well documented here,so go troll somewhere else it is getting really boring.

Anonymous said...

9:46pm,

"Lots of people have pointed out that the city shouldn't run it and that's why they were bidding it out."

Kinda like a whole mess of vendors were interested in running it...

Just another line from the parks queen who doesn't want to do her job.

Anonymous said...

6:57, you are a complete idiot, this is a charity game put on every year not just by city firemen but also county volunteers, state troopers and corrections officers to benefit families in need. Has nothing to do with contracts, overtime or anything else. Take your hatred somewhere else, everybody is sick of hearing the same old nonsense every time.

Anonymous said...

I have been given a personal tour of the Arena by Ms. Gardner and I would say she is very proud of the renovations and could not have been more congenial. She is a wonderful ambassador for the city as she has a very nice demeanor that makes her very approachable and "real". Where some of the poster have gotten that she is somehow not suited for the job is beyond me. She has brought activities back for children in the area that had not been done in years or increased the frequency (movie nights). She has brought new activities for the children and has plans for even more new activities. From my perspective as a parent, she has the energy to really make this successful.
Unfortunately, Watertown seems to dwell on the negative. Look at the Factory Street project. Instead of concentrating on how much better the street will be when it is done, we run story after story about how businesses are hurt. When the State Street project was done I don't remember Great American, Cheney Tire, the Dry Cleaners, Jreck Subs or any other business take to the air ways to complain.
Idea - Instead of the ABC organization giving out $10,000 loan, make them grants. If these businesses HAVE lost that much in revenue they need grants not loans. Oh, and from what I hear, ABC isn't very good at collecting their loans anyways so we can just save a bunch of legal cost by making them grants.

Anonymous said...

I like the movie nights etc.This does not validate why a concession is not running until a solution is found. How about the H2O dept says it is too cold or DPW says it is snowing too hard I can not make it in to plow. You are a idiot, is your name Skippy?

Ray said...

Friday night there are two big hockey games (free) at the arena. Please just bring a bag of chips to pass. That should work for now.

Anonymous said...

9:16, there should be lots of new programs put on by Parks and Rec, their staff has more than doubled since Ms. Gardners hiring as has the spending.

Anonymous said...

Is there a "minimum staffing requirement" for a Hockey Team? Hope no one gets hurt on a COW property.......Hey 916 You're right about the Loans, Didn't we get 5K for Watertown Urban Mission from one of the NFP's??????

Anonymous said...

Excellent post 9:16. So sick of the drama queens in here calling for heads to roll when they hear tidbits of information told 3rd and 4th hand.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about food, but what about beer? That's pretty much why people go see the "pro" hackey games. Actually the perfect gateway to the city now that I think about it...

Anonymous said...

Thank god for 9:16...good to see you got a tour. At least she has been nice to someone. She gets paid well and has a full staff, results are expected. I wonder how much it costs to put ice down for a couple weeks then take it back out? The lunacy continues and I can't believe I am saying this...Jay Donovan is spot on.

Anonymous said...

Now that MMA has passed by our talking heads, we may not need the "pro" hackey 813..that will make us some money. You are spot on, gateway to the city. Laughing

Anonymous said...

9:16, there were lots of complaints about State street and it does not begin to compare. They never shut down traffic completely for weeks on end, like they did with Mill Street and they never made State street one way for months on end either.

And the reason why is that State street does not lead to the North Side, so it mattered.