Scarborough ice arena a 'unique situation' for decision makers

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SCARBOROUGH — The Planning Board heard a preliminary proposal Monday night for a nearly 40,000-square-foot indoor ice rink adjacent to the Benjamin F. Wentworth Intermediate School parking lot and across Quentin Drive from the Scarborough Public Library.

Plans proposed by the nonprofit Friends of Scarborough Hockey to raise funds for the $5.5 million rink and to move ahead with the layout and location were approved by the Town Council in early December after being recommended by an ad hoc site evaluation committee. 

The proposed site of the ice rink is a “unique situation,” Planning Board Chairman Cory Fellows said. “It’s on municipal land, but it’s a non-municipal project.”

The facility, as FOSH Building Committee Chair Lee Allen described Jan. 5, would have approximately 600 seats and require an anticipated 180 parking spaces. Those parking spaces would be shared or borrowed from the existing lot at Wentworth.

It is estimated that most crowd functions at the future rink would take place at night or on weekends, when school is not in session, so it is likely there will be no shortage of spots for either group in the 248-space lot, Allen told the Planning Board.

Before it presents a formal proposal, FOSH intends to conduct a parking analysis and utilization study to determine if sharing a multi-facility lot is feasible. Also,  building logistics require Fire Department approval before plans can be validated.

FOSH is also required to meet several conditions before final approval, which include demonstrating capability to adequately fund the project.  

Because the facility would be on municipally owned land, several members of the Planning Board agreed that the exterior should be consistent with that of the surrounding buildings, using similar colors of brick and similar signage. 

“This is what people are going to think of Scarborough when they drive by,” said board member Nicholas McGee, who recommended that FOSH “stick to the standards” of nearby municipal buildings. 

When asked about funding, Allen told the board that an ideal situation, “is to have the money in hand and begin construction in the spring,” and to open in “the winter of next year.”

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.