Auburn to start plotting Ingersoll fate in capital plan


AUBURN — Councilors will decide whether to mothball Ingersoll Ice Arena, tear it down or pay to turn it into something else.

City Manager Clinton Deschene said the fate of the city’s ice arena will be one of the questions councilors will face in the Capital Improvement plan he has scheduled to present to them and the public at Tuesday’s special City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Auburn Hall.

“Right now, Ingersoll is going to have to be used for part of a year,” Deschene said. “It’s all evolving at this point.”

The capital plan spells out the city’s to-do list for the next five years. It’s not a spending plan, but a tool the city uses to sketch out City Council priorities and help plan the 2013-14 budget.

The plan currently calls for $6.1 million in capital spending in 2013-14, including $1.4 million in general fund spending and $4.7 in bonded debt.

Proposed 2013-14 capital projects include more than $3 million in road, sidewalk and road drainage projects, $175,000 to reclaim and repave the Auburn Fire Department training area behind the Central Fire Station and $25,000 for a new electrical generator at the South Main Street fire station.

The costs associated with Ingersoll Arena range from $10,000 to winterize the building to $250,000 to reconstruct it for a different use.

“The front-runner is to reuse it,” Deschene said. “There has already been some very tip-toe-on-the-edge-of-the-water comments, and you don’t know how many of those are real or not.”

Deschene said Ingersoll Arena’s fate this year depends on the two-rink ice arena planned off Turner Street behind Shaw’s Supermarket and across from the Auburn Mall. Plans currently call for the first ice surface at the arena to open in the fall.

“It should be ready fall-ish, but we don’t have an exact date,” he said.

A second ice rink would not open until December, meaning local hockey leagues would still need to use the Ingersoll Arena.

Deschene said he is recommending the city spend $10,000 to winterize the ice arena, keeping it open until both ice surfaces at the Turner Street ice arena are ready.

Reconstructing it offers two options: Pay $250,000 upfront; or spread it out over three years.

Deschene said he does not have costs to demolish Ingersoll once the new arena opens, but it’s an option as well.

“We’ll research it more, but we wanted to get the idea in front of councilors,” Deschene said.

The city will have about $59 million in total debt at the end of this fiscal year, June 30. That’s about $14 million less than the city owed at the beginning of fiscal year 2007-08. The capital plan calls for paying off another $8.3 million in debt during the 2013-014 fiscal year.

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