June 20, 2018
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Houlton makes plans for new hockey boards at Millar Civic Center

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
The John A. Millar Civic Center in Houlton, seen here in April 2012, is slated to get new hockey boards, according to town officials.
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — At the start of every winter, the Millar Civic Center becomes a hub of activity for youths and adults taking part in ice skating and hockey in southern Aroostook.

And over the past few years, town officials have become increasingly determined to replace the hockey boards surrounding the rink with more solid, permanent structures.

On Tuesday afternoon, Town Manager Gene Conlogue said that a proposal had been put together to make that happen.

“We expect to have the hockey boards in place by the start of the new hockey season,” he said.

Once named the John Millar Arena, the 24,200-square-foot civic center was rebuilt in 1999-2000 after its roof collapsed under the weight of snow in 1998.

A local hockey club and the Houlton-Hodgdon Blackhawks high school hockey team are the primary renters.

Conlogue said he expects that the total cost of the board project will be between $150,000 and $160,000.

During a recent Town Council meeting, the group said that the town had $75,000 saved for the project.

Conlogue said town officials hope they can raise the remainder of the needed money for the project by offering advertising slots on the boards.

The town asked the RSU 29 school board in Houlton to include in its draft budget half of the cost of the boards, as athletes in the district make up a significant percentage of the Blackhawks players. The financing, however, was not included in the draft budget.

“I know the councilors were disappointed, but we are moving forward,” Conlogue said Tuesday afternoon.

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