by Andrew Garda

When something is working, you don’t mess it up by changing it just for the sake of change.  At its next meeting, the Montclair Town Council is expected to retain Clary Anderson LLC for three more years to run the township’s skating arena.

Clary Anderson LLC  has run the day-to-day workings at the arena since 2011.

The LLC was formed by an employee of the former arena management company,  the Ohio-based Montclair Skating, LLC.

The township will also include an option to extend the agreement for two one-year periods if it chooses, after the initial three year deal is up. Montclair will retain ownership of the building.

During the run of the contract, Clary Anderson LLC will continue to handle the concessions, skate and ice rentals, upkeep of the ice during the winter season and administrative jobs, which keep the arena functioning on a daily basis.  The company will also maintain the upkeep of the arena in terms of small repairs and general maintenance.

Details on the terms of the agreement were not available at presstime.

According to Deputy Mayor Sean Spiller, keeping the day-to-day operations under the current management will allow the council to focus on capital improvements.

“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got a commitment to put in the resources to make sure it’s still a top-notch facility,” Spiller said during a recent phone call.

Spiller said the facility needs a new roof and a dehumidifier.  That’s going to take money, and Spiller said the town is in preliminary discussions about how to coordinate and prioritize repairs. When asked if the local schools who use the arena — Montclair High School and Montclair Kimberley Academy — might help out with the costs, Spiller pointed out that due to the way the public school system is arranged, capital projects for schools like MHS already come under the purview of the finance committee.

“[The committee] does coordinate with the schools, to see what big capital projects they have coming up and what the town has coming up,” Spiller explained. “So that we can stay within our overall plan of reducing debt on the municipal side.”

It’s also possible that the arena and town could see some help from outside donors. Spiller said that at one point, the estate of former New Jersey Devils owner John McMullen had been interested in investing in it. That never came to pass, but the township would certainly be open to any help in making sure the arena continues to be augmented.

“I think it’s a wonderful community asset,” Spiller said. “We’ve got to make sure that we do the proper upkeep on it so that our students, whether they’re at the high school or younger kids learning to play… can take advantage and for everybody to take advantage of. So, I hope we can maintain it.”