U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-NY, has submitted three economic development projects for Fulton County totaling $16.5 million in federal funding, including $6 million for a proposed “Upstate Ice Plex” ice skating and winter sports facility, to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration as part of the federal government’s 2023 budget.
Tim Rizzo, who serves on the Town of Johnstown Town Board, said he’s part of a nonprofit organization officially created earlier this year called Upstate Ice Plex, proposing to create the winter sports complex seeking federal and state funding. He said the origin of the idea goes back to a proposal from the late 1990s that never received funds.
“We have a concept and a program that we’re trying to build,” Rizzo said of the idea. “We trying to have an EMS hub. We want to have a daycare. We’re going to have curling, two ice rinks, a gym, a facility that would really be a sports complex.”
Rizzo said the total cost of the proposed complex would be about $35 million. He said this is the second year in a row Gillibrand has supported federal funding for the project, and last year the funding request had been $23.5 million. But, this year, it was scaled back while the newly-formed nonprofit is also applying for a New York state Consolidated Funding Application grant.
He said he can’t reveal the proposed location for the Upstate Ice Plex yet, but plans to make a public presentation that will explain the idea in greater detail at the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth by the end of August.
According to the project description posted to Gillibrand’s Senate website, the Upstate Ice Plex would, “… provide recreational sport and community involvement for children, families, and athletes to exercise. The Ice Plex would promote local business drawing in residents from out of the area and be utilized year-round.”
These are the descriptions for the other two Fulton County projects Gillibrand has put forward for federal funding:
• $10 million for the Fulton County Sewer District No. 5. to help finish the Fulton County Planning Department’s plan to extend sewer lines from the Gloversville Johnstown Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility up to Northville. The project would convert the existing Mayfield sewage treatment plant into a pump station for the enlarged regional system, provide enhanced sewer service for the New York state DEC Northampton Beach State Campground and the Northville Central School District and “provide increased water quality to the Great Sacandaga Lake by the elimination of deteriorating onsite septic systems.”
• $500,000 for Fulton County CRG Industrial Park Development. The CRG has determined Fulton County’s existing industrial parks are now full and is, “… seeking to create additional shovel ready industrial park space that will attract new businesses or assist existing businesses in their expansion efforts.”
According to the project description posted to Gillibrand’s Senate website, “The Center for Regional Growth has identified a prime location for a future industrial park, located along a major arterial in the Towns of Johnstown and Mohawk. This site offers excellent vehicle access and a full complement of high capacity utilities nearby. The Center for Regional Growth has obtained an option to purchase the site. The next step is to purchase the site and develop it as a shovel ready industrial development site.”
Fulton County CRG President Ron Peters did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story Thursday.
Gillibrand submitted funding requests for most of New York state’s counties under the rules of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which include restrictions that funding only be awarded to and only state and local governments and eligible non-profit entities.
“It should be noted that only a handful of projects may actually be funded, and we cannot guarantee which those will be,” reads the post on Gillibrand’s Senate website.