EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 15, 2013

Concerns surface over city's ice rink

Council to probe condition, preventive maintenance spending


Moreover, Ouellette said the city has set aside $70,000 to replace the leaking sections of roof and buy a new ice-making machine this summer. The city also intends install a woman’s dressing room, now that the high school plans to offer girls ice hockey next school year, Ouellette said.

“I have received lots of compliments that the ice was better and the rink looks better this year that is has in previous years,” Ouellette said. “But it’s 40 years old. It has very small dressing rooms. We are doing the best we can to keep it clean and updated.”

Ouellette said he believes one of the problems is that people don’t see all the improvements that have been made. As examples, he pointed to the new fire alarm system and boiler, which is used to heat water before it is converted to ice.

“A lot of the improvements are behind-the-scenes,” he said. “People don’t see them or know about them.”

Ouellette said the facility’s ice-resurfacing machine — called a UKKO — is almost 20 years old but is still in good condition.

“It still works fine, but we’ll probably look at replacing it in three years,” he said. “The ice condensation machine is just about at the end of it’s life, but we have $38,000 to replace it. We’re also going to be replacing the roof around the perimeter of the building. We have $40,000 for that.”

In recent weeks, the council has been pushing Mayor James Fiorentini to spend more money on maintaining city property, specifically Trinity Stadium and Winnekenni Park.

Councilor John Michitson, one of the loudest critics of the city’s maintenance record, said he plans to focus on preventative maintenance during the council’s upcoming budget hearings.

“Moving forward, we should ensure that revenues from the rink are spent on the rink, especially for preventative maintenance,” Michitson said. “More broadly, I’ll ask Mayor Fiorentini to identify minimum preventative maintenance needs and associated cost for each city-owned facility during budget hearings. That way we can track where we are falling short in budgeting for preventative maintenance and the implications of falling short in funding. That will end uncertainty and instill accountability.

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