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Hamburg looking into public-private venture with Canadian firm for sports complex

The Town of Hamburg is exploring a public-private venture with a Canadian firm for a multiuse sports complex.

The first public airing of the proposal came Monday night when the Town Board approved a nondisclosure agreement with Nustadia Recreation, with headquarters in Hamilton, Ont., and D.V. Brown & Associates, a mechanical contractor of the City of Tonawanda.

The town and Nustadia would enter into a partnership for the company to build a sports complex at its expense that would be managed in cooperation with the town Recreation Department and Nustadia, Supervisor Steven J. Walters said.

The supervisor said the town could end up subsidizing the facility if it loses money.

“If the complex cannot be self-sufficient, the town is essentially No. 3 in a three-step process of funding deficits for the facility,” Walters said.

Walters told The Buffalo News that should the operations run in the red, Nustadia would pay the first $67,000, a contingency fund would kick in, and the town would be on the line after that.

“There is some potential, but we are working to limit that or avoid that altogether,” he said.

But first the company has to prepare reports to determine whether the complex would be able to run without subsidies, as well as what amenities would be included.

“We’ve already worked in cooperation with some of our youth sports organizations,” Walters said.

The location is not known, and selecting the site would be part of the overall process, the supervisor said.

Walters said the company is looking at twin ice rinks, an indoor field house, and possibly a swimming facility.

Walters got some pushback from Ron Zimmerman, a member of the Kaleta Group that has been working for more than two years to establish a similar facility in the town.

“It’s amazing how quick this has happened – you calling Nustadia in – when we’ve been asking you for help for two to three years,” he said.

Two 19 Sports, which is part of the Kaleta Group that includes Buffalo Sabres player Patrick Kaleta, his father and uncle and the HITS Foundation, wants to build a sports complex at 5160 Camp Road.

Walters disagreed with Zimmerman, and said the town had tried to help the group after it lost a bid to buy the former Walmart building at Seven Corners. He said the town set up a time for the group to tour the former Kmart site.

“You guys didn’t show,” he said. “We tried to work with you. We set up meetings, you didn’t show up to meetings.”

Walters said the company approached the town last fall and he took the information to the Town Board over the winter.

“This isn’t something that just happened out of the blue,” he said.

Walters said that the public will be able to review the report after it is presented but that the town cannot disclose some information produced by the company.