The proposed spot for an ice rink between the community pool and the playground on North Street in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday voted 6-0 to support leasing city-owned property to the Alfond Youth & Community Center so the center can build an indoor hockey and ice skating rink estimated to cost at least $4 million.

The Alfond Center needed council approval as a first step in the process for planning the facility, to be located between the playground and the Alfond Municipal Pool on North Street. The Alfond Center’s board of directors must approve the plan to build a rink, according to Ken Walsh, chief executive officer for the center, who addressed councilors Tuesday. Fundraising for the project would likely take six to 12 months and no taxpayer money would be used, he said.

The project would cost a minimum of $4 million and an endowment would be built into the plans, according to Walsh.

“We’re very excited about reaching out to many kids and families to bring skating back into the community,” Walsh told councilors.

City Manager Michael Roy said a formal lease will be prepared for the council to consider in two weeks.

Colby College donated hockey-related equipment to the Alfond Center. The equipment came from the Alfond Field House rink, which is being demolished. Colby completed building a $200 million athletic complex near it.

Erik Nadeau of Central Maine Youth Hockey and a member of the Alfond Center’s board of directors, is involved in the rink project and told the council that there is a lot of positive momentum for it.

“This will be a skating rink in the winter, and we’ll be using it for other activities in the off seasons as well,” Nadeau said.

He said Doug and Rita Sukeforth are providing key funding support for the project and Colby College donated a refrigeration system, boards, glass, lights and other equipment from the rink being demolished on campus.

Nadeau said the youth hockey program has seen increasing numbers of registrants in the last four years.

“Hockey’s not dead in Waterville,” he said. “It’s not dead in the area. Skating is important. It’s part of our culture.”

The Alfond Center is seeking a 99-year lease for property for the rink, just as it has a 99-year lease with the city for property on which the center itself was built. The Alfond Center would participate in building, managing and overseeing the rink.

Councilor Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, called the rink plans “mesmerizing,” and said he would support the project “to the day that I go to my grave.”

“You guys do a fabulous job — outstanding job, off the charts, as far as I’m concerned,” he said of Walsh and the Alfond Center.

Councilor Rick Foss, R-Ward 5, said the placement of the rink in the city’s recreation area couldn’t be better, and it will cost the city zero dollars.

“This is a pretty exciting opportunity for Waterville as a whole,” he said.

In other matters Tuesday, the council voted 6-0 to postpone a request to use $62,500 of expected reimbursement money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to replace funds lost for a school resource officer. Councilor Mike Morris, D-Ward 1, said he received information late Tuesday afternoon that he needed to work through before presenting the proposal to the council. The council plans to discuss the proposal at its next meeting, which is in two weeks.

Councilors voted 6-0 to rezone 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. They also:

• Took a final 6-0 vote to sell city property on Airport Road to Daniel Smith for $60,000.

• Accepted in a 6-0 vote a $20,000 donation from Colby to be used for the purchase of equipment for the city’s ambulance program.

• Approved in a 6-0 vote to send an application to the Recreational Trails Development Grant, Bureau of Parks and Lands, for improvements to the trails at Quarry Road Recreation Area.

• Took a first 6-0 vote to accept part of Lafayette Street as a city street. A second vote is needed.

• Voted 6-0 to refer 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.

Councilors voted 6-0 to approve innkeeper, food, liquor and special amusement licenses for The Lockwood Hotel built by Colby at 9 Main St. They also voted 6-0 to approve 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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