Bruce Vanderpool, spokesman for the hockey association, explained the program to the Paynesville City Council and Paynesville Township Board Tuesday night in a joint meeting.
"We put the ice arena program together for the hockey players, but have been offering 20 hours per week of public ice time to the community," Vanderpool said. "We have scheduled our hockey program around the open ice time," he added.
Vanderpool explained a problem arose this past winter...no one was at the arena to unlock the building on many occasions for open skating. The number of kids skating dwindled last winter because of the erratic hours at the arena, nobody knew when it would be open.
"There are a lot of hours the arena can be open for skating, but we have nobody here to open and monitor the ice," he stressed. "The hockey parents are busy running with their own children to games, coaching teams, and don't always have the time to monitor the arena."
The park committee and township board discussed ways to remedy the problem. "Our number one option is to hire someone to open and oversee the volunteers who help at the arena," Vanderpool said. "Then if a volunteer is unable to take their alotted time period, this person would be there to open and monitor the place."
"We are asking for funds to take care of public skating time," Vanderpool said. The PNLSHA asked the township earlier for $2,000 and now asked the council for the same. The association's contribution is maintaining the ice. Each year the city and township contribute $3,500 toward the operation of the ice arena. Cost of running the arena is about $14,000.
Vanderpool explained whoever is hired, would probably need to do a little cleanup and general maintenance, as well. "We are thinking of someone to act as coordinator for the ice arena. They might work anywhere from two to four hours daily for 10 weeks," he added. The ice is usually ready by Dec. 10 and the arena can be open anywhere from mid- February to March, depending on the weather.
The council said they would get back to the hockey association with a decision at a later date.
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