The ice was ready at Clary Anderson Arena yesterday at noon, even though it stood idle for an hour before two women and two boys finally came around to enjoy the township arena’s first public session of the year.

The arena is under new management, sort of. Joe Gauweiler, who managed the rink last year as an employee of the Ohio-based United Skates of America, formed his own company, Clary Anderson Arena LLC, and was awarded the contract to run Clary just last week. Under terms of the agreement, which Gauweiler says he is “still negotiating,” he will pay 5 percent of his gross revenue to the town in exchange for the concession. Gauweiller says he is responsible for utilities and general upkeep, but the town is supposed to take care of “anything major, like if the roof caved in.”

Earlier this year, there was talk of having a non-profit citizens group run the facility, and council Cary Africk met with the group and championed the effort.

“In mid July, after they had submitted their bid, a decision was made by the town staff and approved by the Council to reject all of the bids submitted, as none of the bidders had met all the RFP criteria,” Africk explained by email yesterday. “A new RFP was to be drawn up. Essentially, all the glorious plans were thrown out the window, and Montclair would simply go back to a management contract, but with a new company.”

Gauweiler is enthusiastic about improving the look of the rink, and has already installed new flooring in the lobby. He’s also computerized the back office. Clary will offer public skating sessions Monday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m., on Saturdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1:45 to 3:45 p.m.  Outside groups, like the Kinnelon Ice Hockey Club and the Nutley/Clifton Hockey Club, lease the arena during other hours, and of course there are private rentals for birthday parties and other private events. See the full schedule here.

General admission for individuals is $6, with $4 for rentals, $5/$3 for groups. Gauweiller plans to offer a flat fee of $4, including admission and rentals, for any Montclair public school that wants to use the facility. Other school groups will be offered a flat fee of $6.

What the town will be on the hook for is still unclear, at least to Africk. “I can’t get a straight answer as to the potential capital costs the town is now planning to incur under the new contract,” he told us. “Will it be $1MM for a new roof and refrigeration equipment? I couldn’t get an answer.”

10 replies on “Clary Anderson Arena Opens For the Season”

  1. “I can’t get a straight answer as to the potential capital costs the town is now planning to incur under the new contract,”

    Yet you voted for the new contract? Why?

    Will you also go along with the plans to put solar panels on the building at great expense?

  2. We were down to the wire. I read the contract and it was clear the Town would be responsible for capital costs, I just wanted “the number.”

    Originally, the “non profit group” had a plan whereby they would buy electricity, at a discount, from a provider who would do the roof at no cost if we allowed him to put up a solar array. The arrangement looked to be “win win.” Discount electric and a new roof for Montclair. Now the Township Manager is talking about the Township entering into this type of agreement.

  3. And the solar panels? (you always like to bypass the spending questions I ask).

    Can we afford “$1MM for a new roof and refrigeration equipment” Cary? I don’t think so.

    You talk a good game (sometimes) about fiscal responsibility but your official vocabulary never seems to include the word “no” because we’re always “down to the wire”.

  4. ROC,

    The power provider PAYS for the solar panel.

    We cannot afford large capital expenditures. The reason that I was looking forward to a “privatized” arrangement is I hoped to “off load” capital expenditures.

    News to me that the contract is “not yet fully negotiated.”


  5. “The power provider PAYS for the solar panel.”

    Details please? Sorry Cary, but South Park was supposed to cost “$750K. Period.” So I’m skeptical.

    “We cannot afford large capital expenditures.” Which makes it doubly odd that you’d vote for a contract you yourself fear may cost us a million or more.

  6. Does anyone posting above, or even simply out there, remember Clary Anderson? He was a great, nationally known football coach at MHS. And so well regarded that even some of the college coaches waved one of his books at us as if it were a Bible.

  7. Coach Anderson was a true legend. Growing up in Bloomfield I recall how his teams almost always won. An amazing man. Joe Walsh even thanks Clary Anderson on the liner notes to the first James Gang album.

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