The Martha's Vineyard Arena got a huge boost this week for its plans to improve the facility. On Wednesday, the arena received a $350,000 donation from a charitable foundation in New Hampshire.
"This is a big day for the arena," said Kurt Mundt, arena manager. The check arrived by Federal Express late in the morning. "I had to read it to believe it," Mr. Mundt said. The money will be applied to completing a new locker room facility, part of a much larger rink renovation project. The lockers will be named after Ryan Mone, a high school hockey player who died in an automobile accident two years ago.
Mr. Mundt said he spoke on the telephone Monday with S. Robert Levine, the donor. Mr. Levine was on a ski trip in Colorado. Mr. Mundt said Mr. Levine had read an article about the rink's financial struggles in the Vineyard Gazette. "He told me he wanted to give to a worthy cause on the Island, especially one that would benefit children," Mr. Mundt said.
Mr. Levine is a longtime summer visitor to the Island. The Levine Family Charitable Trust is based in Portsmouth, N.H.
"What do you say at a time like this?" said Jim Pepper, president of Martha's Vineyard Arena Inc. "This is an awesome thing. It is also a big responsibility on us to follow through. Now we have to do more work, and we'll need a lot more help."
"We have told the architect to move ahead on the plan so that we can get bids," Mr. Pepper said. Construction won't take place for more than a year, possibly two years. "It is just not realistic to have it by next fall. Realistically, we may get all the necessary permits by then," Mr. Pepper said.
The rink has already raised $54,000 for the locker rooms. The arena also received some additional checks, but more financial help is still needed. The overall plan is to move all the facilities now at the front of the rink to the back. That means moving the rest rooms, snack bar and shop to the back of the building. The total cost of the project is not yet known. The arena is also in the process of raising funds to pay for needed maintenance work and to cover the cost of electricity.
"We want to create a common meeting room where the present lobby is located," Mr. Pepper said. The new design represents a consolidation, a better use of space.
Mr. Pepper said this is one of the largest single contributions the rink has ever received.