AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Construction is moving along on the city of Auburn's new dual-sheet ice arena.
Last October, the city council voted to sign on to a 30-year lease with private developer George Schott. Schott donated the $2 million plot of land next to the Auburn Mall, and is financing the 8-and a half-million dollar project.
Monday night, members of the city council and media had the opportunity to tour the construction site and get some lingering questions answered.
For years, Lewiston/Auburn has been a mecca for hockey, and now arena general manager, Josh MacDonald, says they'll soon have the space for plenty of ice time.
It's been a slow-moving process; questions popped up about whether the area could sustain two new ice rinks, especially with the Collisee just across the river, and who was financing the $8.5-million project, which is covered by owner, George Schott.
But the city is on board, signing a lease on the new arena for the next 30 years.
Just one rink can sit about 800 people, with standing room for 300 more, plus additional viewing space through glass windows upstairs. The hope is that by boosting the number of family and friends who can come watch games, the restaurants and hotel just down the street will see a boost too.
Auburn Mayor Jonathan Labonte says growth is already evident, with a Sports Authority moving into the area in November.
It's a big change from what Ingersoll Arena in Pettengill Park currently offers, including 10 locker rooms; some, with private bathrooms for coed teams.
The upstairs will house viewing areas, a snack bar, tables and chairs, and televisions for even more hockey viewing.
While there's plenty more to do on the inside, the outside is already generating buzz in the community.
MacDonald hopes that buzz will last through opening day, and for the next 30 years as this hockey mecca expands to a new arena.