Maysa keen to start expansion

Commissioners on the Minot Park Board met Tuesday night at the Roosevelt Park visitor center to discuss its monthly business.

High on the list was a number of Maysa Arena-related items. Minot Hockey Boosters’ program director, Jarrod Olson, joined engineer Jay Kleven of EAPC to update the board on fundraising activities for adding a third sheet of ice to the arena, and also seek the commissioners’ blessing to begin planning for their proposed project’s different phases.

Not counting Minot facilities money earmarked for the addition, users groups have raised $1.26 million in private contributions over the past month. The project expected to cost $7.5 million by next May, though even counting the possible $3 million the group will receive from the city and an additional $1.5 million the Minot Parks plans to commit, that will still leave at least another $1.4 million shortfall to make up for before construction can begin.

Project organizers estimated the rink would take about nine months to build, and so hoped for a speedy start if there were to be skates on the new ice by the end of 2014.

Some commissioners expressed concern that the Maysa expansion needed to secure more funding before it ought to proceed, as well as wondering whether implementing the project in phased stages would unnecessarily bump up construction costs.

“If the money’s there, this will be a good project,” said Cliff Hovda, who had been among the commissioners supportive of the plan when it was proposed earlier this year. “1.4 (million dollars) is a large amount of money,” he added, noting that its timely acquisition is far from assured. “Convince me that this 1.4 is going to be there.”

Kleven explained that they are still in a stage of readjustment, but was optimistic that the groups would collect the necessary funds in the allotted time.

After lengthy discussion, the board voted to authorize the construction of a southern mezzanine essential to the project that can be paid for with already available funds, as well as proceeding with the drafting of specific plans for the project as a whole. However, commissioners also approved rental of ice at All Seasons Arena next year at a cost of $62,700 as well as a request for the option of an additional year, should it be necessary.

In addition to discussing some fee increases at the arena for next year’s operations, the board also approved purchase of a leveling system for the Maysa zamboni at just under $20,000. Already budgeted in for next year at around $26,000, the decision to move now on an opportune offer ended up saving the district about $6,500.

Moving from the topic of ice, the board turned to birds.

The old education center on the zoo grounds is getting ready for renovation, a project that will transform the historic building into an aviary that will be open to the public year-round. In addition, the basement area will be converted into a wintering facility for the zoo’s bird species.

The current status of the project was presented by Carter Myre, architect with Anderson Wade & Whitty. With the commissioners’ consent, the final specifics of the work to be done will be drawn up and advertised for bidding, which Myre expected will come to a close by the middle of November.

Because of the indoor nature of the renovation, it can be worked on throughout the winter months, with a project completion date anticipated to be sometime next June. Funding for the expected cost of $628,000 has been secured from several sources, ranging from insurance money and budget items to Foundation funds.

“We’ve got the money lined up for the estimate to go ahead,” parks department director Ron Merritt explained.

“It’s a great building,” zoo director David Merritt added. “This project will do well by it.”

The Park Board also:

– Approved minutes from meetings on Sep. 17 and Oct. 1; one alcohol permit; bills worth $421,927; and salaries totaling $140,140.

– Agreed to a Nov. 3 closure if the weather remained suitable, based upon recommendations made by Souris Valley Golf Course staff.