City says arena past its prime
Moorhead is putting Centennial Arena out to pasture. The 30-year-old building, at the northeastern corner of Highway 75 and 15th Avenue North, has been most recently used by a competitive horse-riding group.
Moorhead is putting Centennial Arena out to pasture.
The 30-year-old building, at the northeastern corner of Highway 75 and 15th Avenue North, has been most recently used by a competitive horse-riding group. Now, the city plans to convert it into a storage building.
But members of Northern Minnesota Team Penning, a group that has rented the building for the past five years, say they would like to continue using the arena for winter competitions.
Team penning members don't know what will happen if the city doesn't allow them to use the arena, said Roy Martinson, a member of the group. "We hope we can find another place," he said.
If the group were to keep using the arena, it would need renovations to bring it up to building code and make it accessible to people with disabilities, said City Manager Bruce Messelt. Those changes could cost around $100,000, he said.
"It's probably outlived its useful life, and we're not in a financial position to improve it," Messelt said.
Northern Minnesota Team Penning has been leasing the facility for $1,500 a year, only a tiny fraction of the cost of repairs, Messelt said.
If the city used Centennial Arena for storage, all of the changes wouldn't have to be made -- though it still would need renovations worth about $30,000, said Chad Martin, city operations director.
That would save Moorhead from having to build a new storage facility, which city officials were considering at the new joint public works facility site, but abandoned the idea due to cost, Martin said.
Centennial Arena was built in the early 1970s and used by local 4-H groups, Martin said. It later became a youth hockey site before Team Penning began using the arena.
Now, the 20,000 square-foot building has peeling paint, indentions in its steel-sided walls, and a sign so faded the words "Centennial Arena" are hardly visible.
But the facility works fine for the riding events, Martinson said.
Team penning is a competition in which three riders on horseback are timed as they sort out and pen three numbered cattle out of a herd.
About 50 people belong to the local organization. Last year, one team from northern Minnesota won a world championship division, Martinson said.
He's hoping a meeting with city officials next week will end in a compromise.
"We're willing to do what we can to make it work," Martinson said.
Messelt said the group needs to find some way to lessen the costs to the city if it wants to continue using the building.
"Hopefully, they'll be creative if that's where they need to go," he said.
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