Empire State Development Announces Plans for $6 Million Upgrade of Saranac Lake Civic Center

Project Will Enhance Regional Sports Infrastructure Ahead of Lake Placid 2023 World University Games

Exterior Rendering Available Here

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced plans for a $6 million upgrade of Saranac Lake Civic Center in Franklin County. The year-round, not-for-profit recreation and events facility will undergo interior and exterior improvements, with a planned completion to coincide with the center’s hosting commitments for the Lake Placid 2023 World University Games curling events. The project is being supported by $4.5 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funds through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

ESD Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “The Lake Placid 2023 World University Games will welcome thousands of athletes, families and fans to the North Country, and showcase New York State to a global audience. Projects like the upgrades to the Saranac Lake Civic Center will ensure that our facilities meet world-class standards, while providing the necessary infrastructure to accommodate future athletic competitions of this size and caliber.”

The $6 million capital project includes interior and exterior renovations, as well as energy efficiency, fire and safety improvements. The primary project will be rink improvements to ensure the ice surface meets world class competition standards, with additional upgrades to kitchen, locker room facilities and spectator seating. These improvements will better position Saranac Lake to attract future events after the 2023 Games, enhancing the regional sports competition infrastructure. The project coincides with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s strategy of strengthening the region’s global sports brand by attracting international sporting events that would stimulate private investment and job growth and catalyze the renovation of the area’s sports and hospitality facilities.

Like the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, the 2023 World University Games are expected to catalyze private investment, boost tourism, increase employment and create new business opportunities. While Lake Placid will serve as the host for the Games, neighboring communities like Saranac Lake will host competitive events, supporting a more widespread regional economic impact.

Ollie Burgess, Saranac Lake Civic Center Board Member, said, “On behalf of my fellow board members, we are very excited to upgrade the Saranac Lake Civic Center ahead of the 2023 World University Games. Thanks in large part to the support from Empire State Development, these renovations will help us to attract future competitions while ensure that we can continue supporting the community and youth sports groups that rely on the rink.”

NCREDC Co-Chairs James McKenna and Dr. Ty Stone said, “The upgrades to Saranac Lake Civic Center align with our regional strategy to support and enhance the North Country’s winter sports foundation. This project complements other state investments in the region and will invite athletes and guests alike to explore and experience the greater Saranac Lake community during the World University Games, and beyond.”

The Saranac Lake Civic Center was originally built in the 1970s to support youth hockey in the region. In 1989, Saranac Lake Civic Center, Inc. was created to take over the lease of the arena and to operate the facility. The center hosts winter sports like hockey, curling and figure skating, along with non-sporting events like auctions and tradeshows. The 24,000 square-foot center has 15,000 square-feet continuous open floor space and includes multiple locker rooms; bleachers that can accommodate up to 500 people; and a heated viewing area in the lobby.

Senator Dan Stec said, “You get one chance to make a great first impression which is why updating and upgrading our sporting venues, including the Saranac Lake Civic Center, is so important as we prepare for the 2023 World University Games. The eyes of the winter sporting world will be upon us and the ice at the Civic Center will be perfect!”

Assemblyman Billy Jones said, “The $4.5 million investment into the Saranac Lake Civic Center is much-welcome news for a community facility that plays a huge part in recreational opportunities in the North Country. The renovations being funded will help prepare the center for the Lake Placid 2023 World University Games, as well as provide a significant boost to the local economy through additional job opportunities for our families and increased tourism. I greatly look forward to seeing the civic center when the work is complete and it’s ready to welcome more events to the region.”

Franklin County Legislature Chair Don Dabiew said, “The Saranac Lake Civic Center has served communities throughout Franklin County through the years, and these upgrades will ensure that it can continue to host a variety of events for generations to come. This project will help us welcome the 2023 World University Games, and we couldn’t be more excited to showcase all that our region has to offer.”

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said, “The improvements to the civic center are the latest in a series of new investments and exciting projects underway in Saranac Lake. While we are eager to welcome the World University Games in 2023, we happily invite New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore our community before then to experience all we have to offer.”

Harrietstown Town Supervisor Michael Kilroy said, “The town is in full support of this project as the Civic Center has served an important role in our community for many years. This investment will undoubtedly benefit Harrietstown, Saranac Lake, and the surrounding region, and we wish everyone involved the best with the planned upgrades.”

ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313