Town of Alexandria hopes to stage comeback for Bonnie Castle Rec Center

Updated: Aug. 19, 2019 at 5:36 PM EDT
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ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Bonnie Castle Recreation Center -- once a hot spot for concerts and sporting events in the town of Alexandria -- could get a second lease on life.

The town hopes to bring it back.

"We've got the stands on both sides of the rink here," town board member Ron Thomson said, "and then in the back was where the restaurant was, it's all vacant now."

Walking through an empty arena, town supervisor Brent Sweet finds a Thousand Islands Privateers ticket from 2012, the last time an event was held here.

"There was a tremendous amount of overflow to the village of Alexandria Bay and that's what we're hoping we can bring back to the community," Sweet said.

The center sits on the edge of the town and since the 1980s, it housed figure skating, hockey games, concerts and more.

Gary Williams spent nearly 10 years there as general manager. Looking back on his memories, he says there's potential to rebuild.

"Most people think we need this," he said. "They enjoyed it -- they came up here and every weekend there was tons of people."

Last month, the town board approved a bond for $5.5 million to cover the cost of rehabilitation.

The board is currently writing a strategic plan for the project. Officials are hoping to rebuild the ice rink, make space for vendors inside, and add sporting fields outside.

However, Sweet says ultimately the taxpayers will decide if the plans move forward. It will be on the ballot this fall.

"If it passes the vote in November, I'm sure that this board will do everything it can as soon as possible," Sweet said.

Sweet says if the taxpayers vote in favor of the project in November, he plans to have the ice rink up and running by fall of 2021.

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