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Council will make repairs to Schmitz-Maki

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news Farmington, 55024

Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

The problem isn't entirely fixed, but there should be ice ready for skaters by next hockey season.

The Farmington City Council has approved plans to make $1.1 million in repairs to the Schmitz-Maki Arena, but it's too soon to tell if there will be a second sheet of ice at that site in the near future.

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At their Feb. 16 meeting, council members agreed to make improvements to the ice rink floor, the refrigeration system and dasher boards. Next Monday, they will likely approve plans and specifications and authorize advertising the project for bids.

But that's just to meet the immediate needs of the aging building. The project goes far in replacing equipment that has been in place for upwards of 30 years, but it does not meet future needs of the ice program - specifically, a second sheet of ice.

Along with the recommendation to address the immediate needs came a timeline to address the issue of a second sheet of ice in Farmington.

Suggested by city staff, the timeline includes discussions with the school district next year to find an appropriate place for a new ice arena, and to possibly begin construction on a new arena by 2012.

The idea of building a second sheet of ice at the Schmitz-Maki site hasn't been entirely ruled out, but there are a few considerations that have to be taken into account. Parking would be limited, with 250-300 spots available if the second sheet would be placed there. However, council member Christy Jo Fogarty pointed out there are parking options for that location.

"I realize parking is complicated, but I have no problem telling people Boeckman (middle school) is overflow parking," she said.

Council members voted 4-1 to make the immediate improvements to the Schmitz-Maki Arena. Council member Julie May cast the dissenting vote. While she acknowledged there was a need to get the arena ready for next season, she hesitated because there was no plan in place to address who was paying for what in the improvements.

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