The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 21, 2013

N. Mankato considering rink

Resolution allows city staff to talk to youth hockey group

By Dan Linehan
dlinehan@mankatofreepress.com

---- — NORTH MANKATO — City staff can talk with a youth hockey association about how to pay for and where to put a potential new arena, the City Council decided Monday on a 4-1 vote.

The council decision does not involve spending any public money, though that may eventually be a result of these discussions.

“This is simply a request to consider this and bring back some information for further consideration,” City Administrator John Harrenstein said.

Area cities and counties have been asked in recent years to help pay for a new youth hockey rink, which could about $3 million. The Mankato Area Hockey Association has said it can't provide as much ice time to its players as it would like, and will have to start turning away players in about two years.

All Seasons Arena, a government-owned rink, recently commissioned a study that found a hockey rink stands a good chance of supporting itself. But it would still require money to be constructed.

Harrenstein said North Mankato is already a leader in youth sports with its premier softball and soccer fields.

“This is an area to add to the feathers in your cap, so to speak," he said.

The resolution allows Harrenstein and other staff to start figuring out potential ways to pay for a rink as well as possible locations.

Councilman Kim Spears voted against the motion.