Keene ready to sign pact for ice rink
Members of the City Council’s finance, organization and personnel committee unanimously recommended moving forward last Thursday with the project by authorizing the city manager to negotiate an agreement with the non-profit Keene ICE.
Keene ICE would design and construct the ice rink in a city-owned warehouse by the police station at 380 Marlboro Road.
In the agreement, the city would allow Keene ICE to use the building under a 25-year contract, which is not a lease.
Keene ICE would fund the ice rink and interior improvements, estimated to cost $6.3 million, he said.
The city bought the building years ago as part of a plan to centralize police, fire and public works at the location. While police and public works are operating out of the location, it was determined that to keep emergency response time down, firefighters should remain downtown.
Keene ICE plans to use 48,000 square feet of the warehouse, Raffensberger said.
About 4,000 area skaters use Cheshire Arena at the county fairgrounds in Swanzey. The decades old facility is only open from November to March.
He said, “95 percent of the agreement is set in place.”
The City Council could approve the agreement as early as this Thursday. “As soon as City Council approves it ... we can go ahead and start the next steps for Keene Ice.”
The group plans to launch a public fundraising campaign. Local businesses have already raised most of the estimated costs of the project, Raffensberger said.
Somewhere between $700,000 and $1.5 million would need to be raised, he said.
The construction time is estimated to be between six and eight months, he said. Part of the cost of the rink includes a geothermal heating system and a water-recycling system.