Houghton County Arena Updates

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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - Renovations are coming to the Houghton County Arena in Hancock.

Funding is slowly falling into place and updates to the rink are expected soon.

The 45 year old Houghton county arena will be seeing some maintenance and required improvements starting in April.

The first phase of maintenance, is cleaning up and protecting the structural beams.

"They've been there for over 45 years, structurally they're very sound not a problem, but we need to get them blasted and coated, it'll really brighten up the place," Hermanson said.

Due to EPA requirements going into effect soon, the ice plant needs to be updated.

"The big thing that was a driver for this, is our R22 ice plant, our ice plant is running on R22 which will be outlawed by the EPA in 2020, so there won't be any more available."

The ice plant, the cooler that keeps the ice... icey... uses Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which the EPA says has the potential to deplete the ozone.

The plant and installation will cost around half million dollars.

The HOCO is a public building, so the maintenance on the roof and beams inside are covered by the county's budget.

"It's been ok'd they had their meeting last month, it's a go-ahead, so we were happy to hear that," Hermanson said. "There won't be any tax increase or any millage or anything like that sort.

"It's been OK'd they had their meeting last month, it's a go-ahead, so we were happy to hear that,"

The cost of running the facilities are covered by ice time fees, and advertisers on the boards.

But to cover the extra costs, a fund raiser was set up to pledge or contribute directly.

So far, they've raised nearly $400,000.

According to management, that money will be leveraged to pull out the entire cost of bringing the arena up to date, and to do it correctly.

"Ideally we want to put the most efficient system in here, it's gotta be one time we do this, we don't want to do it again, so we want to do it right," Hermanson said.

Getting it right includes updating to LED lights, installing a de-humidifier to help with the rust prevention, and updating the bleachers to be handicap accessible.

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