The Casco Point ice skating rink will see some upgrades this winter.

The upgrades will come through a partnership between the city of Orono and the Orono Youth Hockey Association that the Orono City Council approved at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 13.

The partnership calls for the city to install lights at a cost of $5,000 to the outside ice rink while the hockey association will provide hockey boards to cover half of the rink at Casco Point. The project would include installation of four light poles and lights with necessary lighting controls to ensure lights only operate during designated times along with necessary electrical feeds and circuits.

Maintenance of the rink will be shared, with the city flooding the rink at the beginning of the season and as needed during the season. The city would also remove any snow from the rink after winter storms.

“I think it’s great. I think that park is under=utilized and this just opens the door for more people to use it,” council member Victoria Seals said. “The only thing I would question would be the lights. Are we sure the neighbors are OK with us putting lights there?”

City administrator Adam Edwards responded by saying there are not many houses in the area of that park, but that they would be putting the lights lower to not be much of a distraction and also that a timer would be put on the lights so they would turn off automatically at a certain each night.

“We always wanted to make our parks as much usable for all the different type things we can do in Orono,” Mayor Dennis Walsh said. “This has always been there, so if we can make this even better and more usable.”

Council member Matt Johnson asked about a warming house and if that was possible in the future. Edwards said if this partnership works that they can discuss options for a warming hous,e whether it be a temporary structure or a permanent structure, down the line.

“I think its great. We are the state of hockey,” council member Richard Crosby II said. “This is a gimme. I think this is terrific”

In other council business, the council went into closed session with city attorney Soren Mattick to discuss the status of seven lawsuits involving the city. Barbara E. Burwell in her capacity as Trustee of the Barbara E. Burwell Revocable Trust, Plaintiffs, v. City of Orono; Jay Nygard and Kendall Nygard v. City of Orono; James Hillegass v. City of Orono; Jay Nygard v. City of Orono, Minnesota Department of Human Rights; Kendall Nygard v. City of Orono, Minnesota Department of Human Rights; Barbara Schmidt vs. Orono; and Bonnett v. City of Orono (unfiled).

In the agenda packet, the city stated ‘The Council has balanced this decision to close the meeting against the purposes of the open meeting law, and the Council has determined that there is a demonstrated need for absolute confidentiality. The Council will be considering settlement negotiation status and strategy and must do so confidentially.’

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