The arena project is slated to get back on track next Monday, when town council has scheduled a meeting with “Ice for Kids” at 5:30 p.m.
And this time round, Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said the whole of council will be involved in the decision-making.
“When we get their input and the council input, we [will] decide the type of construction, the type of building, and the location," he said. "All those decisions will be made jointly.”
“The meetings will be chaired by council and [Ice for Kids] will be dealing with the whole council," he told "Ice for Kids” rep Al Smith at Monday night’s council meeting.
But Smith felt this coming Monday’s meeting, which also would include “Ice for Kids” co-chairs Dave Egan and Les Baker, as well as Border Figure Skating Club president Tammy DeAmicis, would be more a fact-finding mission.
“I want to find out the direction of the town," he noted, adding "Ice for Kids" didn’t know what its options were. "We’re not sure what we’re going to get.”
In anticipation for this meeting, “Ice for Kids” met Jan. 22 and came up with a unified vision for what kind of arena it would like to see.
That vision includes a side-by-side, double-rink facility, featuring one North American and one Olympic-sized rink. The North American would have seating for 1,200 while the other only minimal seating.
Smith said “Ice for Kids” hasn’t had another meeting since then.
But with the town footing 90 percent of the bill, as well as managing the facility once it was completed, Smith admitted council would have the final say as to what it looked like.
“We’ve only put in 10 percent [$500,000] of the cost,” he noted.
But depending on which way council wanted to do things, Smith also felt it was possible the project could be back on track for a fall completion date.
“We want to move on this," he admitted, noting "Ice for Kids” had crossed too many hurdles over the past seven years to have the project come to a halt last month.
“It’s not going to be easy," he added, stressing they wanted to accommodate everyone in the final plan. ”I wish we could build the plan L & M [Architects] did for us.
“It’s still an option.”
“Maybe we’ll take the plans and run with them. I don’t know," said Mayor Witherspoon. "That’ll be decided at that meeting.”
Meanwhile, the mayor didn’t anticipate any problems with the company that had been awarded the first contract, noting the town had received a letter withdrawing their proposal for the project.