Alpena, Mich. — The Northern Lights Arena and the Alpena County Board of Commissioners have officially agreed to a contract that will keep the venue operating for three more years.
The county owns the building, and the nonprofit, Northern Lights Arena Community, rents the space. The negotiating process took a year to finalize. The county will now be paying for property insurance. The biggest contention between the two parties was the bond repayment. They eventually were able to find a conclusion that benefits both sides.
Arena manager Keli Werda is happy about the agreement and excited to continue moving forward with the community staple. The passion to keep the venue operating helped finalize the agreement.
“This is a huge asset to the community, and the economic impact that we have is huge, whether everybody admits it or not,” said Werda. “Again, those things stand true. We have a huge economic impact, and if someone doesn’t run this rink, if we don’t have hockey tournaments, if we don’t have skating, if we don’t have community outreach programs, if we don’t have things like car shows, boat shows, snowmobile shows, what would this building be doing? It would be nothing, and no one else is going to do it.”
The agreement does include opportunities for an extension. NLA is home to many different events and classes with everything from roller derby to boat shows.