Residents express mixed reaction to Hamburg hockey rink proposal

May 19, 2017

The public had a chance to look at renderings of the proposed $30 million sports complex in Hamburg last night. The plan has drawn great reaction, not all of which has been positive.

A handful of protesters expressed their dissatisfaction at a public meeting in Hamburg Thursday night.
Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The complex would host an array of indoor and outdoor sports at the site of the former South Shore Country Club property on Southwestern Boulevard and Camp Road.  If the Sportstar Capital project goes ahead in an alliance with the town, Hamburg faces some financial risk.

"If it were my decision or if I had a vote as a board member, I would have to vote to turn this project down," said Jim Shaw, who is Democratic candidate for Hamburg Town Supervisor.

"It exposes taxpayers to a significant risk of liability for future losses. It opens up the prospects for lawsuits."

Shaw and a handful of protesters want a public referendum on the matter. Current Supervisor Steven Walters says such a vote is not needed. 

"All our due diligence shows that this will be a self-sustaining facility. We put a few safe guards in place to protect the town," Walters said. 

"But, all the data we have and it's actual data. It's not just pick numbers out of the sky, it's actual data that we have that we have reviewed show that this is going to be self-sustaining."

Walters pointed out that the planning process is likely to extend beyond this year's Supervisor election.

Sportstar Capital owner Marty Starkman says operating costs will be below most ice rinks because the facility will be drawing around 60 percent of its electricity from massive solar panels on the roof. 

"This building will generate a cost of $400,000 a year, approximately from our experience, for electricity, because you have lights here and lights here and the ice house is very expensive," Starkman siad.

"It'll pay for itself in five-six years."

The sports complex is only one part of planned development on the former golf course. David Homes is also looking to build at the site.