Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Riverside Arena gets facelift


Lois E. Johnson

The new entrance door is to the far left on the south side of the arena building. Crews install siding to cover a big hole where a ventilator once had been. The ventilator allowed the cold air into the arena to freeze the ice before artificial ice-making equipment was installed, Arena Manager Guyal Nelson explained.

Improvements are under way at Riverside Arena in Moose Lake, totaling $350,000. The improvements include new siding, a new entrance door, a dehumidification system, an air exchanger, an exterior stairway from the upper level and landscaping.

"As is the case with most of these kinds of projects, the funds came from various sources," said Dan Benzie, a former board member of the Moose Lake Area Hockey Association, in a recent telephone interview. "The Earl Ellens Renovation Fund was set up in 2010 for the expansion of the arena. Mercy Hospital was the largest contributor, and Great River Energy also contributed a large amount. The other funds were raised from businesses and individual donors. The plans were changed in 2012 after rising waters flooded the arena. We had to rethink the project."

Those funds are now being used for the exterior enhancement project.

Benzie explained that a crew from Champion Iron of Floodwood installed new siding on the bus garage and board members liked their work. They were asked to also side the arena.

It had been originally planned to replace the lower portion of the siding and paint the upper siding but it was determined that, considering the cost of labor, it would be best to replace all of the siding, Guyal Nelson, arena manager, explained.

Benzie said the cost of the siding and installation, replacement of the downspouts and installing LED lighting totalled $75,000. Those projects will be paid for from the renovation fund.

The color of the new siding is Ash Gray, with Patina Green on the lower portion of the walls. New landscaping and sidewalks around the south and east sides of the building are also part of the of the arena enhancement project, stated Nelson and Benzie.

The parking lot will not be paved. Moose Lake City Administrator Tim Peterson said paving the parking lot was cost prohibitive. But it will be upgraded as much as possible, he added.

The expansion project, an addition to the arena, also has been put on hold. The expansion plans included more restrooms, locker rooms, a concession area and a lobby. "That's a long-term goal," Peterson said.

With the new siding, landscaping and lighting project, the 30-year-old arena will undergo a transformation that will greatly enhance a prominent building in the community.

"We are dressing up the exterior of the arena," said Peterson. "That's something we can all be proud of."

In addition to the visible upgrades, a $125,000 Mighty Ducks grant, which will be matched by the hockey association in the amount of over $100,000 and the city at $25,000, will fund the purchase and installation of a dehumidification system and air handling system for the mezzanine, and purchase a new Olympia electric ice resurfacer, which will be delivered in July.

The dehumidifier is necessary in the winter months when the floor is covered with a sheet of ice. It will prevent the formation of stalactites on the steel rafters in the ceiling, said Nelson.

The siding project is scheduled to be completed at the end of May. The concrete slab for the dehumidifier equipment has been poured on the north side of the building in preparation for installation.

The Mighty Ducks grant projects have to be completed by the end of June, according to the agreement that was included in a Moose Lake City Council agenda packet earlier this year.

"The arena is important as a regional hub," said Peterson. "After these upgrades, it is going to be a spotlight for the community. This project is a good example of the community coming together to achieve a common goal."


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