The third time was a charm on Monday for the proponents, including Mayor Paul Dyster, for winning council approval of the $3.1 million bond resolution for the fourth phase of work at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion rinks in Niagara Falls.
The council had twice before failed to muster a super majority of four of the five council members to approve the bonding resolution, but at a special meeting of the council on Monday afternoon, all five city lawmakers voted in favor of bonding the work after language was added to the resolution stipulating it would be "all paid for out of casino dollars," said Council President Andy Touma.
It was the language inserted into the resolution that persuaded Councilman Bob Anderson to support it and his fellow lawmaker Glenn Choolokian, who had been a strong opponent of borrowing for the rink work even though he favored it, also voted yes.
"I think everyone realized just how important this work is," said Touma. "It is necessary so we can stay competitive with nearby rinks in Lockport and Buffalo and keep the leagues we have right here in the city."
Touma added that rink operator Gene Carella was obviously pleased to get the okay so that work can get started in April and the rinks can be ready for use in October with all the necessary improvements.
Proponents of the bonding resolution have warned that nearby businesses would have been hard hit if the 40-year-old rinks failed and hockey leagues moved out of town. Carella has estimated the rinks generate about $6 million a year in economic activity, money that would be lost if the leagues currently using the facility left town.
Touma said Controller Maria Brown advised lawmakers that the city would use casino cash to make the $255,000 annual payments for 15 years on the rink bond.
"The rink work is $2.7 million of the bond," said Touma, with another $400,000 included to cover possible cost overruns on the project given the deteriorating conditions of the rinks of the aging facility.