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Saranac Lake Civic Center

The Full Story

Construction of the Civic Center began in the 1970s by Saranac Lake residents involved in the Pee Wee Hockey Association, with the goal of covering an existing natural ice rink. Eventually a macadam floor was installed to help combat weather challenges.

In 1984, the Saranac Lake Ice Center, Inc. leased the space from the Saranac Lake Pee Wee Hockey Association and installed plastic matting, refrigeration and artificial ice. Five years later, in 1989, the Saranac Lake Civic Center, Inc. (a not-for-profit 501C3) was created to take over the lease of the arena, absorb the remainder of the debt that encumbered the Saranac Lake Ice Center, Inc. and to operate the facility. With the help of municipalities whose residents used the facility and contributions from generous supporters, the ice rink set down a path to being more sustainable while also remaining affordable to those using the space.

The result of these changes were very rewarding. In the 1999-2000 season, over 34,000 user hours were logged on the ice. From tiny figure skaters and hockey players, through high school athletes and adults, the Civic Center was being used many hours every week during the winter months. In the summer months, the venue hosts a wide range of events that make meaningful contributions to the local activity and economy.

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We are creating a historical timeline and would love to see your photos and hear your story. Get in touch so we can include your memories.

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Thank You
An open letter from the Saranac Lake Civic Center

April 19, 2024


SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. -- If you walked through the doors of our reopened, reimagined Saranac Lake Civic Center in the last few months, thank you. If you skated on our world-class ice this season, thank you. If you volunteered at any of our events, thank you. If you felt compelled to donate and keep us going, thank you.


Our skating season ended April 9. The ice is gone. The memories are not. And please know that we are already hard at work thinking about next season.   


You took a chance on us. Some of you showed your support in person. Some of you cheered us from behind the scenes. We saw you. We felt you. We thank you. And please know, we need you. We needed you this season. We will need you next season. We will need you for all seasons.   


This building is for the community. We have many goals as an organization but we hold one above all others — we must, and we will, serve as a beacon for this community. And we did that, proudly.  


We offered 75 hours of free public skating this season. We had toddlers on the ice, we had retirees on the ice and every age group in between. Our ‘Silver Skaters’ program was an immense success. We brought people into our wonderful community by offering tournaments for every age group, pee wees all the way to the college level.   


You came, you skated, you might have slipped and even fell a few times, and we hope you enjoyed every second of it.   


I say it again. This building is for the community. To all of you, particularly our generous donors and sponsors, thank you. Our season was a success. On to the next.   


With gratitude on behalf of the Saranac Lake Civic Center Board of Directors,  

Ollie Burgess

President, Saranac Lake Civic Center Board of Directors

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