Updated: 10/23/2013 5:29 PM
Created: 10/22/2013 9:27 PM KSTP.com
By: Jay Kolls
The Forest Lake School District is seeking permission from the Minnesota Department of Education to buy a sports center that is struggling financially.
The District wants to use $3.3 million to purchase the Forest Lake Sports Center which operates two sheets of indoor ice. The rink's owner, Forest Lake Area Athletic Association, is having a hard time making its mortgage payments and has the arena up for sale.
But some people in the District think is not a wise gamble to put taxpayers' money into an arena that, right now, is not able to survive on existing revenues.
Forest Lake School Board member, Kathy Bystrom, tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "I just don't think school district money should be used to buy and be in the business of owning and operating an ice arena."
Bystrom also says "it is not a common practice of school districts across the State of Minnesota and I think it is too risky." But, there are plenty of people in the Forest Lake School District who see this as an opportunity to make a profit.
School District spokesperson, Ross Bennett, says "we believe, based on projections, that we can make a profit of about $120,000 each year." Bennett says the money will be used from the District's general fund and taxpayers would be on the hook for any future revenue shortfalls.
Bennett says "we are confident our projections are good and we will make a good return on the investment of taxpayers."
The Minnesota Department of Education is considering Forest Lake's request to purchase the arena and a decision is expected soon.