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Editorial: Ice arena plan has promise

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There has been so much talk over so long a time about adding another sheet of indoor ice in Farmington that in a way it's hard to believe something might actually be happening. That seems to be the case, though, as the group behind Ice tor Tigers, a community-based effort to expand Farmington's Schmitz-Maki Arena, prepares to launch its first widespread fundraising efforts.

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Expanded rink options have a long and not always happy history in Farmington. A proposal to add a hockey arena as part of a larger sports complex during the construction of Farmington High School provoked an extended and often divisive debate in the community. Ultimately, the effort failed. Discussion by the city about expanding or even replacing Schmitz-Maki likewise went nowhere.

It's still possible this latest effort will lead to nothing as well. After pricing out its project the group has estimated the planned expansion will cost roughly $4 million. That is a lot of money to raise.

There are some reasons to be optimistic, though, not least the fact the Ice for Tigers effort seems to have the kind of widespread support earlier efforts lacked. The sports complex proposal came from the Farmington School District and never found a lot of backing elsewhere. The city's proposed expansion of the existing arena made some effort to draw in outside organizations, but not to this degree. This effort is coming from the community and reaching into the government, both city and school district.

Ice for Tigers has the support of parents, of hockey programs, of city and school district. A joint powers group involving all of those groups has been meeting regularly over the past several weeks to put a solid plan together.

The group behind Ice for Tigers has suggested that if everything goes well the expanded arena could be finished by next hockey season. It's an ambitious goal, but it's certainly not impossible. We look forward to seeing what happens.

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