Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Questions from the Community

You will recall that two columns ago, I wrote that the Recreational Facilities Committee will be making a report soon. Over the years, many people have asked me questions that I hope will be addressed in that imminent report.

Does Pelham need more ice time / another ice pad? Will we need more ice in the future?
What is the historic usage for the arena? What is the current usage? What is the projected need? While it is projected that Pelham’s population will grow by 6,000 people by 2031, because of an aging population, does that mean that the number of arena users will grow? Some say that the current usage is more than 100%, but what does that mean when I drive by during the day and the arena is not being used? Has Pelham Minor Hockey or Pelham Figure Skating committed to additional ice time? What about girl’s hockey? What other community recreational facilities will be needed in the future?

If the need is evident, can you add-on to the current arena (as originally envisioned)?
Wasn’t the current arena built so that it could be added-on to? Because of the condition of existing building, would that be like throwing “good money after bad”? Is adding-on even possible? Could Pelham add a new ice surface and all new dressing rooms? Is there enough property to add-on? How would that impact adjoining properties?

If the need is evident, can Pelham build a new twin-pad arena on the current site?
If Pelham cannot add-on, is there enough property at the current site to construct a twin-pad? If you are building new, what else should be included? It would take months to construct a new twin-pad; could it even be done while the existing arena operates? Would it increase traffic? Where would Pelham relocate the soccer fields, multipurpose court, platform tennis, and Parks & Recreation compound that are currently on that property?

If it cannot fit on the current site, will a new facility fit on the Town-owned property at the corner of Rice Road and Highway 20?
Would you need all of the 32 acres? Didn’t Council vote to sell that property? Will the property costs be added to any construction costs? What would happen to the current arena property?

How much would each of these options cost?
Can Pelham tax-payers afford the capital / construction costs? Can Pelham afford “not to” do it? What about grants? What about partnering with another City or Town to save money / better use resources? How much would the increased operating costs be and can we afford that?