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Joyce Endee

Ice Arena expansion design supported by Friends of Pop Whalen

Town Manager Jim Pineo, left, accepted a check for $100,000 from the Friends of Pop Whalen presented by Victor Drouin. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
September 08, 2021
WOLFEBORO — The town accepted a $100,000 donation for engineering and architectural services for the expansion of Pop Whalen Ice Arena from the Friends of Pop Whalen, Wednesday evening, Sept. 1.

Victor Drouin and Kurt DeVylder, President and Vice-president, of the Back Bay Hockey Assocation, respectively, answered questions from audience member Suzanne Ryan pertaining to future plans during the hearing. At one point, she suggested tabling acceptance of the donation and asked, why not lease the building and have someone operate and manage it?

"It's an aging hockey rink," said DeVylder, that the association would like to "turn into a modern facility that can be used other times of the year...It's a gift to the town. We're not saying how it should be run. We see the deficiencies and want to address them. The town's portion of $1.5 million is to stabliize the building."

Drouin added, "Last year, the town approved the engineering; the Friends want to fund additional engineering and design for a feasibility study."

Town Manager Jim Pineo explained the town has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the $100,000 to use "in unison" with the $125,000 raised by voters last March. The architect's scope of work is both town related and expansion related.

"We have money to repair the building. It's in dire need...once the architect is done we can answer more questions," Pineo added.

As to how long it would take for the Friends to raise funds for an expansion, estimated at around $2 million, Pineo said it could be six months or six years. It is not yet determined.

"The public/private partnership is very important," commented Chairman Linda Murray, who pointed out that the town's $125,000 for architectural work and the Friends of Pop Whalen's donation will be pooled together to include exploration of the Friends desire for improved locker rooms and an addition.

The full plans will go first to the Capital Improvements Plan committee of the Planning Board.

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