Council tables vote on ice arena designs, budget

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AUBURN — It wasn’t concerns about a less-than-glowing financial forecast for the city’s planned twin-rink ice arena, but some questions about the construction of one of the rink floors that delayed a City Council vote Thursday night.

Councilors, meeting in a special session to deal exclusively with the latest designs and budget forecasts for the ice rink, voted to table the matter until their regular meeting Monday.

City Manager Clinton Deschene said councilors had questions about whether the floor in the arena’s main rink would be made of sand or concrete.

“There is a cost associated with putting concrete on both rinks,” Deschene said. “If we do that, we need to figure out what that does to the cost of the project, overall.”

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Deschene said the city was waiting for a review from the state Fire Marshal’s office.

“I would say tonight we could table it and hopefully have something back for Monday,” Deschene said. “If you approve it tonight, you’ll have to approve a new set later on, as well.”

Councilors agreed, voting 6-0 to table.

Deschene presented two budgets, one he prepared and one prepared by staff and city consultants. His budget showed a $308,317 loss at the facility the first year. The staff model showed a $57,495 loss.

“As I look at both, I think they show a realistic image of where we could end up, and the manager’s budget shows an expectation of where we would be right out the door,” Deschene said. “Both models estimate revenues. We have commitments from all of our renters, but until we start renting and know for certain they will be there, we have to be careful.”

Deschene’s model rents ice time for $225 per hour to youth and adult hockey leagues, while the staff model rents for $235.

Deschene also budgeted smaller for concession-stand revenues, less sign-advertising revenue and fewer skate rentals. The consultants’ budget called for almost $250,000 more in revenue than Deschene did.

Councilors approved the lease agreement on the ice rink in October, agreeing to let developer George Schott build the arena on land he owns behind Shaw’s on Turner Street.

The entrance would face Center Street, according to the latest design plans. The proposed arena would have seats for 811 spectators in one rink and 200 in a second rink, with 80 to 100 seats in a shared mezzanine.

The new arena also would feature eight locker rooms, two lockers for referees, a pro shop and a second-floor, warm spectator area with a concessions stand.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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