Recent articles portraying the owner of the Bank of Maine Ice Vault as a corporate bully are wrong and should land some people in the penalty box.

Witnesses will corroborate that Peter Prescott, the Bank of Maine Ice Vault’s owner, never bullied the Hallowell council. The strategy to rebuild the arena was about collaboration and teamwork.

Anti-TIF advocates could not have picked a worse TIF as an example to suggest TIFs don’t serve the public interest. The Kennebec Ice Arena was a for-profit company that didn’t make money before its roof collapsed, and The Bank of Maine Ice Vault doesn’t now. Ice arenas don’t make money. They do produce lessons on sportsmanship, teamwork and skill.

The owner rejected the available path all other new arenas in Maine selected, becoming public charities, which avoids paying property taxes forever. The city conducted a full, extensive open public process where opponents’ views were voiced and considered, allowing the owner to gauge public support for the project. When the city rejected the request demonstrably required to make the project work and offered a shorter period, with a deep affection for the kids, the owner and his family elected to increase an already substantial altruistic “investment” and rebuilt a community asset, which would not have happened without the TIF.

The Bank of Maine Ice Vault is a terrific community asset that urban and rural users enjoy. Use it and enjoy it; that’s why it was built.

Lester F. Wilkinson Jr. AugustaEditor’s note: The article by Naomi Schalit, of Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, to which this column refers appeared only in the newspapers’ online versions.

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