The City of Belleville is taking another look at the cost of restoring its 90-year-old Memorial Arena, one of the oldest hockey arenas in Canada.
Built in 1929, the Memorial Arena is home to generations of hockey players as well as the world-champion Belleville McFarlands.
Mayor Mitch Panciuk says he understands the emotion and sentimentality behind the old red-brick landmark, but the reality is that the city has to deal with many other fiscal responsibilities as well.
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Now, council has requested that city staff determine the cost of restoring the local landmark to its former glory.
“I just felt that it was really important that we get the cost to renovate the facility back to the previous use of an ice facility. We needed to refresh that,” Panciuk explained.
“It’s already stale now. It’s been more than 10 years when that information was last done so what we did (is) we received a report from staff, we asked for this update.”
Stanley Jones, president of the Quinte region chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, agrees with the mayor, saying a costing of the renovations must be done to have an honest discussion about the possibility of reopening the Memorial Arena.
Jones says the arena is truly unique, adding that it’s one of only two of its style left in the country.
“It is sort of a square box. (To) some extent, if you’re looking for architectural details, there’s not really that much but there it is, still, that classic arena that all the people would still recognize as an arena once they saw it, no matter where,” said Jones.
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Panciuk hopes to get a cost estimate on bringing the arena back to life within a month or two, and with real numbers, a decision can be made.