ALBERTVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - The youth hockey association in St. Michael and Albertville, Minn. is clashing with the community over whether to build a second ice arena for local players.
The teams currently practice on an ice arena under joint ownership between the cities of St. Michael, Albertville and the local school district. The St. Michael/Albertville Youth Hockey Association says there are often three teams practicing on the ice together and sometimes the teams have to go to Elk River, Rogers or Monticello to practice really late at night on a school night.
“We've just come to a critical mass where it's just an absolute necessity for our hockey association which is the largest hockey association in the state of Minnesota with only one sheet of ice,” Josh Opiola, the hockey association president, said.
The hockey association is pushing to add another arena to expand the practice space for their players, but that idea is drawing lots of criticism.
Our schools receive the lowest money per pupil in the state out of 335 school districts. So in the same breath, ‘we need a hockey arena we need a hockey arena let's fund $8 million for a hockey arena’ they're saying ‘we need more money for education we need more money for education’,” Hollee Saville, an opponent of the new ice arena, told Fox 9.
It is currently unclear how much the arena will cost. The current estimate is anywhere $5 million to $8 million. Some say it will cost an average of $10 a year per household for 20 years, but others say that price will be even higher.
Those opposed to the idea say they are fighting the new arena every step of the way and that it is not a done deal. However, there are plans to get a design done so that the cost can be nailed down.
If the arena is approved it could open as early as September 2017.