Bonnie Castle purchace approved

Voters in the town of Alexandria voted ... the Town Council purchasing the former Bonnie Castle Recreation Center on Route 12 for its new ice arena and multipurpose complex. Watertown Daily Times

ALEXANDRIA BAY — The Alexandria Town Council will acquire the former Bonnie Castle Recreation Center to transform into a new municipal multipurpose complex after it received a blessing from the majority of town voters Tuesday.

The proposition for the town to acquire the 40,000-square-foot arena, other buildings at the site and 300 acres on Route 12 for $300,000 received 556 votes of approval and 364 votes of opposition in the general election, according to unofficial results.

The second proposition, which would allow the town to borrow up to $5.5 million, the estimated cost of both the property acquisition, renovations and improvements to the property, in bonds, received 518 yes votes and 396 no votes.

“I think its great for the community,” said Alexandria Town Supervisor Brent H. Sweet.

Town officials want to transform the property into a new municipal center that will offer skating and hockey in the arena, similar to the town’s existing arena on Bolton Avenue, a walking trail and fields for soccer, baseball and softball.

Despite receiving approval from the majority of taxpayers, officials have no plans use bond financing for the project. They plan to use $300,000 from general fund A for the purchase, apply for $3 million in grants from various agencies and possibly seek low-interest financing for renovations. Mr. Sweet said the board expects to close on the property purchase within the month.

The projected cost does not account for future operational expenses. The board would need to hire more workers for the new arena in Alexandria.

Transforming the complex into a new municipal recreation center will require years of grant seeking, construction and renovation. Updates to the arena itself may not start until 2023.

A proposed time frame from the town calls for bid solicitation for site clean up, initial construction of the first athletic field and work on the back pole barn in 2020; finishing the first athletic field, pole barn and a new toilet facility in 2021; finishing the second athletic field and walking trail in 2022, and, pending available funds, commencing arena updates in 2023.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Sweet said. “The board is very conscious of the taxpayers — taxpayers and the tax rate.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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