$80 million event center proposed for town of Watertown

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WATERTOWN — After championing the project for 15 years, Watertown Town Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett’s effort is paying off with a planned $80 million event center off Route 3.

Mr. Bartlett and the Watertown Local Development Corp. are working with OVG Facilities, a $10 billion developer and operator of sports facilities around the world, a firm headed by Michael F. Sherman, former head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers, and Seahawks Hockey Premier Hockey Club, a hockey club and academy in Cape Cod.

The developers said they are moving ahead with the 520,000-square-foot multi-use indoor facility.

The Thousand Islands Event Center will provide state-of-the-art space for a complete range of sports, recreation, entertainment and special events serving the north country, the Thousand Islands and southern Ontario, the developers said.

“This might well put us finally on the map,” Mr. Bartlett said.

They are seeking $30 million in financing from the state.

Working with a governmental affairs consultant who is a former state assemblyman, they’re arranging a meeting in the next couple of weeks with Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul to secure state funding.

They’re confident that the state will come through with financial aid for the project they say will benefit the Thousand Islands tourism industry and the region’s economy.

“There will be no local tax dollars,” Mr. Bartlett said.

They’re asking for the full $30 million from the state, but have contingency plans if they don’t receive the full amount, Mr. Bartlett said.

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