Ogdensburg city manager reopens Lockwood Arena
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
OGDENSBURG – Ogdensburg City Manager Stephen Jellie has reopened the Lockwood arena after discussions with the Ogdensburg school superintendent.
Two letters were read aloud during the Monday, Jan. 11 City Council meeting asking officials to reconsider its decision to delay the reopening of the city’s ice arena until January 16. The pleas did not fall upon deaf ears.The letters said the activity and physical outlet provided by the facility was critical to the physical and mental well being of area youth figure skaters and hockey players.
Councilors Dan Skamperle and Nichole Kennedy echoed the call, saying it should be opened, as long as guidelines were being followed.
Deputy Mayor John Rishe also supported the ideas, as long as it was allowed under state and county health guidelines.
Kennedy said the youth organizations have been strictly following all guidance.
Jellie said the school’s arena was closed down for a reason and that sports school sports were cut off for the same reason.
He said he discusses the issue with the Ogdensburg School District superintendent weekly, and will continue to keep making decisions that are best for public safety.
Jellie said Superintendent Keving Kendall said that although competitions aren’t being held, the school is allowing for drills and practices.
Jellie did note that Ogdensburg is among the communities with the highest rates of COVID-19 spread in the county.
“As recall sometime in the fall our rates started to spike and they’ve continued to be high ever since,” he said.
Jellie said he wants to see the arena open as well, but only if it’s not going to contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
“We don't want to keep the Lockwood closed one day longer than it has to be,” he said.
Jellie based his decision on the opening on talks with the school superintendent and what he’s seeing at the schools.
Councilor Kennedy pointed out that kids are congregating regardless. She said dance studios are open and operating as well and that as far as she was aware there were no cases stemming from there.
Jellie agreed that youth organizations have done a great job and that there had been no complaints, but pointed out that COVID-19 is still spreading.
Jellie said with the vaccine being rolled out he wants to ensure the city is helping get to the finish line and not contributing to the spread.