Amelia Park Ice Arena gets $25k for new roof

WESTFIELD – The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts recently announced a $25,000 grant to the Albert and Amelia Ferst Operating Foundation to support the replacement of the leaking Amelia Park Arena roof.
“We’re ecstatic that the Community Foundation has bestowed that grant on us,” said Carole Appleton, executive director of arena.
Appleton said the Operating Foundation is launching a 3-year million dollar capital campaign to make the 15-year old building more energy-efficient. She said they have just received a recommissioning report from an ice arena expert. Along with a new roof, there is work needed on HVAC and air conditioning units in the roof. They want to install a low emissive ceiling, either above or below the beams in the rink, which will bring considerable savings on a regular basis. They will also have to bring down the regular sprinkler system, and want to replace all of the lights with LED lights.
Appleton said all of these projects will have to be grouped together and scheduled, and requests for proposals (RFPs) sent out.
The campaign will also look to set up endowments to allow future generations to use the arena.
Appleton said the facility opened due to the generosity of Albert and Amelia Ferst, but there are no trusts or endowments to keep it operating.
“Since Mr. Ferst’s death in 2011, we’ve been asking how do we move forward. We need to take the steps now to bring down expenses, and make the arena viable for the future,” Appleton said.
The foundation hopes to launch a public support campaign by the first of the year.
“Mr. Ferst gave the arena and memorial garden in memory of his wife Amelia. They did an awful lot for the City of Westfield. Now the people of Westfield will be able to support the dream that Mr. Ferst had,” she said.
Among the plans being considered for the campaign is a piggy bank thermometer at the rink, so the kids at the rink can give change and feel a part of the fundraising effort, as well.
“We’re going to be looking for the whole community to get on board and support ice hockey, sled hockey, figure skating, and exercise,” she said.
Recently, the arena received a Future Fund grant of $5,000 from The Westfield Bank to support sled hockey. Foundation members will be contacting businesses and all the banks as they rev up the campaign over the next couple of months.
“The Amelia Park Ice Arena is a jewel not only for Westfield but for all of Massachusetts,” Appleton said.

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