THEZONE AT THE NORTHWEST ARENA: CHANGING THE STATE OF PLAY
TheZone will be an indoor sports-themed play space for toddlers through pre-teens occupying the second floor of the Northwest Arena’s recently completed expansion. It will be a place alive with energy, motion, laughter, and learning.
The Goal: TheZone is designed to get kids moving and thinking. Some attractions introduce concepts from physics, others teach the basics of hydration and nutrition. All of them connect these ideas to sports and play.
The Vibe: Designed by Jack Rouse Associates and Cortina Productions, both world-renowned firms who design displays for museum, sport, and entertainment venues including the National Comedy Center, TheZone will be colorful, fun, and inviting, from the LED marquee that welcomes you in, to the five zones of diverse, dynamic activities inside.
The Approach: Physically engaging exhibits will connect the act of play to STEAM concepts illustrating the science of motion and sport. Kids can design their own sports uniform (and see themselves in a digital mirror all suited up) or test their sprint speed against simulated rivals. They can also climb, throw balls, jump, and create their own play.
The Best Part: Fully ADA-compliant and financially accessible for every family, The Zone will offer enriching, age-appropriate fun for all kids.
THE BENEFIT FOR CHILDREN
For kids, especially in the preschool years, play is not just fun—it’s essential. It’s how children learn and develop, from motor skills to social skills. TheZone will create space for meaningful play, and inspire physically active play, promoting fitness and starting young children on the path to organized athletics and life-long wellness.
The Need for Facilities: Right now, the Jamestown area and Chautauqua County offer far too few recreational spaces for kids, especially indoor spaces they can use during our long winters. (AECOM market analysts and research from the Aspen Institute’s Project Play both confirm this.)
The Need for Activity: Physical activity yields lifelong benefits, from improved cognitive function to better health into adulthood—and if children are engaged in regular activity before 12, they tend to stay engaged. Unfortunately, right now only 16% of kids in Western New York are active enough, meeting CDC recommendations for at least one hour of physical activity per day.
The Need for Fairness: Kids from the lowest income bracket are seven times more likely than those from the highest bracket to be active zero days a week (again, according to data from the Aspen Institute’s Project Play). The Zone will help address this disparity by providing plenty of free and low-cost opportunities for families at all income levels.
The Need on the Part of Families: Three groups will benefit immediately from TheZone: local families, eager for great experiences for their kids that they can enjoy again and again, families visiting the Northwest Arena, and those visiting the National Comedy Center or other Chautauqua County attractions.
THE ADVANTAGES FOR OUR COMMUNITY
The City of Jamestown and the Chautauqua County region have faced tough economic times. Over the past decade, the region has been making strides toward renewal, firing local pride and proving progress is more than possible. TheZone will be the next stride forward in that journey.
Major Achievements: The Northwest Arena has been a community anchor and catalyst for development since 2002. With 250,000 annual turnstile visits, people come for hockey to ice bumper cars, figure skating to backyard curling, major spectator events to private events; a trend that will continue with TheZone.
More Momentum: Other inspiring signs include the opening of the National Comedy Center, two new full-service hotels, investments in downtown office spaces, a multi-million-dollar renovation to the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, and continued enhancements to the Jamestown Riverwalk.
Projected Success: TheZone will give even more families a reason to visit Jamestown or to extend their stay. It will feed on—and fuel—the success of its neighboring attractions. An analysis by AECOM projects that TheZone will draw 45,000 visitors per year once well-established.
Impressive Potential: Nationwide, children’s museums add $5.5 billion to the economy annually—in part, because each dollar in museum spending ripples out to create $3.66 in economic activity; this is a prime opportunity for Jamestown.