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City, Privateers schedule another meeting

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The city and the Thousand Islands Privateers will resume their talks to see whether the Federal Hockey League team will move to the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds next season.

They tentatively have scheduled a meeting for Thursday to talk about working out a deal to make the municipal ice arena the team’s new home.

Owner Nicole Kirnan said Tuesday it looks less likely that the Privateers can remain at Bonnie Castle Recreation Center near Alexandria Bay because the chances are slimmer that the financially troubled facility will reopen for next year’s season.

“Watertown is still our best choice locally,” she said, adding that she remains “optimistic” the Privateers will end up at the fairgrounds.

She also confirmed the team began looking to move out of the region, but it is her hope to stay in the north country. She is considering all options for next season, Kirnan said.

Talks between the city and the team stalled with the change in Watertown’s leadership at the top. Former City Manager Mary Corriveau started the conversations, but she retired last week, so interim City Manager John Krol will step in to take that role.

He plans to have Erin Gardner, the city’s new parks and recreation superintendent, and retired parks maintenance supervisor John VanBrocklin, who filled in for the city as the superintendent before she was hired, involved in talks.

Krol said the two parties need to exchange some additional information for the talks to proceed.

“There were a few things left hanging,” he said. “We’ll be getting everything together.”

On Monday night, Mayor Jeffrey Graham and Councilman Jeffrey Smith reiterated their hopes for Watertown’s landing the team. If the team moves here, they have said, they would like to make some upgrades at the fairgrounds ice arena to accommodate the team.

Last month, Kirnan had said that Watertown was her first choice for the relocation. The team is also looking at Ogdensburg, Clayton and remaining at Bonnie Castle.

Donald Cole, a partner in the Alexandria Bay facility, was unavailable for comment.

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