WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday will be asked to support leasing property to the Alfond Youth & Community Center so the center can build a more than $4 million indoor hockey and ice skating rink.

The council’s support of such a lease is the first step in the process for planning the facility beside the Alfond Municipal Pool on North Street. The rink would also need approval from the Alfond Center’s Board of Directors, according to Ken Walsh, chief executive officer for the center. He said that fundraising for the project would likely take six to 12 months and no taxpayer money would be used. Walsh said the project would cost a minimum of $4 million and an endowment would be built into the plans.

“I’m pretty confident, with the energy of hockey and skating in this community, that we’d raise enough money to support it,” Walsh said Monday.

The council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Mid-Day Cafe at Mid-Maine Technical Center at Waterville Senior High School. The meeting also will be livestreamed at www.waterville-me.gov. An executive session to discuss real estate negotiations will be held at 6:45 p.m.

City Manager Michael Roy said that if the council supports leasing the property to the Alfond Center, a formal lease would be prepared for the council to consider in two weeks.

“I think the city is very much supportive of this kind of thing, especially being where it would be, in the middle of a recreation area,” Roy said, referring to the Alfond Center, playground, pool and athletic facilities on North Street. “It just makes that whole recreational set up more alive, active, important, vital.”


Roy and Walsh said in separate phone interviews Monday that Colby College has donated to the Alfond Center boards, glass, lighting  and other hockey-related equipment from the Alfond Field House rink. That facility is being demolished. Colby has completed building a $200 million athletic complex near it. Last week, Brian Clark, Colby’s vice president of planning, confirmed the donation of equipment.

Walsh said philanthropist Harold Alfond helped to support the college field house rink when it was built around 1950. About 15 years ago, there was a lot of discussion in the city about possibly building a community skating rink such as one that existed in the South End area of the city years ago, he said.

“Back in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, hockey and skating were big in this community,” Walsh said. “Everyone had access. When Sukee Arena closed, it really limited the opportunities. People were asking us if there’s anything we can do. We identified a spot next to our facility and talked to Mike Roy and (Waterville Parks and Recreation and Public Works Director) Matt Skehan and others — Central Maine Youth Hockey.”

He said Erik Nadeau of Central Maine Youth Hockey, who also is a member of the Alfond Center’s Board of Directors, is involved in the rink project. Doug and Rita Sukeforth, who developed Sukee Arena, are supporting the fundraising campaign, according to Walsh.

“Doug has been a tireless leader in pushing forward with this project,” he said.

Walsh said the Alfond Center will seek a 99-year lease for the city-owned property between the Alfond Municipal pool and the tennis courts for the rink, just as it has a 99-year lease with the city for property on which the center itself was built.


“The nice thing about a project like this is there’s no taxpayer dollars involved,” he said. “We’d participate in building, managing and oversight” and make sure the community has access to skating, Walsh continued.

Walsh said there is a lot of work involved in such a project, including the first step of bringing it to the council. Then they need to get Alfond board approval, look at any questions the state Department of Environmental Protection may have, line up a contractor and talk to people interested in helping to fund the project.

The indoor, one-season facility for hockey and skating would be used during the other three seasons for recreational activities such as school sports, according to Walsh.

“We’re very, very excited about this project, and I think it’s been a long, long time since everyone had the opportunity to participate in public skating,” he said. “This is another project where we would break down barriers.”

He said children who do not have the opportunity to get on the ice, such as those enrolled in the center’s after-school program, will be able to have that opportunity.

In other matters Tuesday, the council will consider using $62,500 of expected reimbursement money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to replace funds lost for a school resource officer. The reimbursement is related to COVID-19 expenses incurred since the start of the pandemic, according to the agenda. After the Waterville Board of Education approved a budget for 2020-21, the council asked it to cut $50,000 from that budget, so the board cut funding for the resource officer. The council’s move would be an effort to replace that funding.


Councilors also plan to consider:

• Rezoning part of County Road from Rural Residential to Solar Farm District to allow for a solar farm to be built on property owned by Kevin Violette of Holmes Farm Associates.

• Taking a final vote to sell city property on Airport Road for $60,000 to Daniel Smith.

• Accepting $20,000 from Colby to be used for the purchase of equipment for the city’s ambulance program.

• Approving an application to the Recreational Trails Development Grant, Bureau of Parks and Lands, for improvements to the trails at Quarry Road Recreation Area.

• Taking the first of two needed votes to accept part of Lafayette Street as a city street.

• Referring to the Planning Board for public hearing and recommendation a request to rezone part of Airport Road from Airport District to Airport Industrial District to allow a solar farm to be built there. The area where it would be built is on the east side of the airport, north of the east-west runway.

The council also will consider approving innkeeper, food, liquor and special amusement licenses for The Lockwood Hotel at 9 Main St., and approving the designation of Waterville Junior High School at 100 West River Road as the polling place for the Nov. 3 election.

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