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Northern Lights Arena a great opportunity

My county administer job got me assigned to this project, it instantly flashed me back to 1966. As city planner I was assigned the task to build a community center for a great local Golden Gloves Boxing program housed in an awful building and a need for a basketball court. Just like the old ice rink!

In Alpena, it was pure effort from volunteers in seeking public donations, state, and local government funds. About $1.9 million came from government. The balance of $8.5 million came from the hearts of the people of Alpena. This provided the development of this fine facility with a collection of persons that felt the spirit needed to have a great ice arena that could be used skating, hockey, and many other uses. But not vacant for storage.

I remember opening night of Northern Lights and I told the crowd this will be a great opportunity, as the community center in Monroe is, where kids became National Golden Glove Champs, would play basketball in college, the NBA, instead of attending school in Jackson State Prison! Alpena history has produced many speed skaters, hockey players, figure skaters, and other sport activities. This important time in 2021, the community’s ice history will help guide keeping Northern Lights a great asset for Alpena’s future!

The strain of the local economy caused by COVID-19 alone has not helped. Monroe closed its arena five years ago! Northern Lights total cost was paid off by donations just to be built. Have a fund drive to pay off the loan debt the county spent! This community has the wisdom and strength to keep this wonderful opportunity open, that is how it got developed.

JAMES PELTIER,

retired Alpena County

administrator,

Monroe

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