By Dan Linehan
---- — MANKATO — City managers from Mankato and North Mankato will lend their financial expertise to a proposal to build a new hockey rink. The Mankato council gave its informal consent to the move Monday while North Mankato formally voted to approve it about a month ago.
Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges will help create an operating budget and estimate the project’s cost, but he’s already saying early estimates are too low.
According to a study prepared by the board of All Seasons Arena, a rink could cost about $3 million. All Seasons is a two-sheet skating facility in Mankato owned by three area cities and one county.
But Hentges said Monday that previous estimates for a third sheet of ice peg that cost at $4.6 million at the least.
The All Seasons Arena study narrowed the financial analysis to the hockey rink, which, along with a competitive pool, is the athletic facility most likely to make an operational profit. The board saved perhaps $15,000 by farming out the financial analysis to the city managers rather than paying the consultant.
Any budget to build the new rink may rely heavily on the cities and county that already own All Seasons Arena. Because the request came from that body, Hentges said he presumes that the funding proposal for a new sheet will likely mirror that of the existing sheets.
North Mankato Councilman Bob Freyberg has said that the cities need to be more creative than simply relying on the property tax and All Seasons funding model.
But there’s no clear source of funding for the arena besides the property tax and the $750,000 contribution that has been promised by the Mankato Area Hockey Association.
Hentges said the financial analysis should be completed by February.