The Erie Zoological Society was today awarded a $2 million state grant to renovate and reopen the JMC Ice Arena, according to Senator Dan Laughlin.
“This is great news for the Erie community,” said Senator Laughlin. “Erie families enjoyed skating at the JMC Ice Arena for 50 years before leaks in its ice system forced it to close last year. Not only was the arena a great place to learn and practice ice-skating, it also created a spark in many that grew into a love of hockey. In fact, Erie Youth Hockey and the Westminster Figure Skating Club were founded there.”
Senator Laughlin noted that the project will restore jobs and funding for the Zoological Society that were lost when the arena closed.
“This state funding will help the community tremendously — both recreationally and economically,” said Senator Laughlin. “The Ice Arena’s closure resulted in 25 people losing their jobs and a loss to the Zoo of $85,000 in net revenue a year. This project will restore jobs at the arena and provide revenue for the zoo and – more importantly – it will promote ice skating and the love of hockey for families now and for future generations.”
In addition to replacing the ice maker, the grant will be used to add new bleachers, a café lobby, skate shop and new flooring. There is also a plan in place to repave two small parking lots and a service drive for easier, safer access to the facility.
“The closure also left Erie with only two ice surfaces,” Senator Laughlin said. “The one at Mercyhurst University is primarily for students and the one at the Erie Insurance Arena is often unavailable for public use due to the variety of events that take place there. That means the reopening of the JMC Ice Arena will truly benefit Erie residents.”
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