On behalf of the Kennebec Valley Chamber and its 600 members, I want to offer Peter Prescott our support and encouragement in rebuilding the Kennebec Ice Arena.

The ice arena has been an important community asset for Maine’s capital city region for four decades. It was such a tragedy when excessive snow loads caused the roof to collapse last winter, and thousands of people have been eagerly hoping for this community treasure to be rebuilt promptly.

This ice arena has been home ice for many Central Maine hockey teams and was home of a minor hockey league for several years. Equally important, Kennebec Ice Arena has been a valued recreation center for public skaters and for figure skating aspirants.

When I was mayor of Augusta in the mid-1980s, we had to hire a new city manager. We were successful in bringing on board the best applicant (from New York) only when he was assured we had a local ice arena where his daughter could pursue her dream of figure skating.

The generous undertaking of building the ice arena that Prescott and other skating advocates embarked upon 38 years ago has become a crucial center for youth development, community pride and economic growth.

While located in the city of Hallowell, the ice arena has enriched the entire capital region as well as the state of Maine.

The arena has been a positive factor in the lives of many young people. Skaters, coaches, parents, community members and visitors from around the country have benefited from the relationships developed on the ice and in the stands.

The ice arena has helped stimulate business throughout the area for many years and now some businesses are expressing concern about the loss of sales related to the arena.

The biggest loss, however, is to those youngsters who have depended upon the Kennebec Ice Area for a place to learn, a place to compete, a place to share with family and others, a place where they have become family with sharp blades and sharper futures.

We hope others also will take a moment to express their strong feelings towards rebuilding.

Peter G. Thompson is president & CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber.

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