Community Center board holds meeting to discuss expansion

By Chuck Kajer

The New Prague Area Community Center Association held a meeting Tuesday, April 26, to gauge interest in expanding the 9-year-old facility.

Thirty-five people attended the meeting, with members of the New Prague Area Community Center Association giving a history of the building, and talked about where the building was today.

The Community Center opened in December, 1996, mainly due to the efforts of a group of families involved with the New Prague Hockey Association. The building is owned by the New Prague Economic Development Authority, which has a 40-year lease with the non-profit Community Center Association to operate the facility.

While its primary use has been as an ice arena, with the New Prague Area Hockey Association, New Prague Area Schools and New Prague Figure Skating Club its primary tenants, there is no ice in the building for six months each year, and it is used for non-hockey events as well.

Jason Witt is president of the Community Center Association. Other members of the board of directors are Bill Ehrich, Dr. Mike Kilpatrick, Dr. Steve Kivi, Chris Morris, Jim Morris, Rob Morris and Lana Puffer.

After the informational session, the approximately 35 people in attendance split into small groups and talked about what other uses they’d like to see for the Community Center The association will use comments received to decide where to go from here. Foremost among the topics discussed was the need for a second sheet of ice, as demand for ice time has greatly increased since the facility opened. In 1996, the New Prague Area Hockey Association had 10 teams for players ages 5-15, all for boys, and the high school had a boys varsity and JV program. Today, the hockey association has 16 teams, including two girls teams, and the high school has varsity and JV programs for both boys and girls.

Issues concerning the second sheet of ice included dehumidification, which would allow a rink to be used year-round, and whether the new or old sheet would be the main rink.

Also discussed was the economic impact of the community center.

We estimate that about 600 people come into New Prague from out of town each week during the ice season

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