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West Side ice arena: Get the questions answered, please

Count us with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and Alderman Keith Hirschmann in saying due diligence needs to be done before turning over the city's West Side Ice Arena to a private group.

The proposal from local businessmen sounds promising, to be sure. The idea of having a private group improve and run the now run-down facility must excite parents and supporters of youth hockey, particularly the Manchester Regional Youth Hockey Association. MRYHA takes up much of the ice time available at the rink, which is situated under the Biron Bridge on the city's West Side.

The Renaissance group says it will operate the arena, which apparently would take some burden off city government. But the group wants the city to pay for renovations to the rink. At what cost? Over what amount of time? Who is responsible if the group can't meet its promises and liabilities?

As noted in today's City Hall column (Page A3), Hirschmann says the group has little experience in running an arena.

As for Mayor Gatsas, he wants to see that city staff concerns and questions are asked and reliably answered in advance. The McIntrye Ski Area has successfully been taken over by a private company but, as noted, that deal was a year in the making.

Manchester has provided a great deal of opportunities for recreation and youth activities for a city of its size, both geographically and population-wise. Could the West Side plan be another improvement? We hope so. But get the details and questions answered first.

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