This weekend, two Newtown residents are opening the Sandy Hook Arcade Center, an all-ages arcade intended to help the town heal and promote family values.
It is named for the elementary school where 26 children and educators were killed last December in one of the worst mass shootings in history.
Co-founders Andrew Clure and Scott Cicciari, who have each called Newtown home for more than a decade, came up with the idea because they both love pinball. When they reached out to contacts in the arcade industry and the local community, "the response was tremendous," said Clure.
"For us this is not a business," he added, "it's simply our commitment as parents and residents to promote one of the core values in Newtown — family."
According to Cicciari, putting the arcade together has given him and Clure a "renewed faith in the goodness of people." Small businesses in Newtown and companies from across the country, along with local residents and officials, have contributed to the arcade. It will feature analog and digital games, including Kinect titles, pinball and air hockey.
The arcade will be a not-for-profit organization, not a business. Admission fees from non-local customers and donations will be put toward running the arcade, and the proprietors will donate any leftover funds to the town. Newtown residents will always be able to play for free.
The grand opening of the Sandy Hook Arcade Center is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 16. It will be open on weekends, and for three days during the week.