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Building a new ice arena in the Town of Tonawanda or renovating existing facilities will be explored in a study authorized Monday night by the Town Board.

In a unanimous vote, lawmakers approved hiring Carmina Wood Morris, a Buffalo firm, to provide consulting and engineering services at a cost of $30,000. They will follow through on another firm’s recommendation, in a 2010 report, for the town to balance costs of investing in older facilities to the cost of building new for revenue-producing facilities.

“We have been talking about the rinks for the last couple of years,” Councilman Daniel J. Crangle, chairman of the Town Board’s Youth, Parks and Recreation Committee, said Monday night. The consulting firm will look at the cost of a new facility and a location – as well as the existing rinks at Brighton and Lincoln park arenas, he said.

The 2010 report was issued after a comprehensive facility needs assessment by Wendel Duchscherer Architects & Engineers of the town’s recreational facilities and their use. The assessment also included a survey of residents – 1,900 surveys were returned – and two public meetings.

At that time, consultants noted that a majority of the town’s recreation facilities were created through a bond resolution in 1953.

The two ice arenas date back to the 1950s and 1960s, Crangle said Monday. “They do need some TLC,” he said.

The 2010 report proposed the addition of two, regulation-size ice rinks at Lincoln Arena, where one smaller rink exists. The report noted that such an expansion would require the relocation of a baseball diamond and football field. At that time, the cost was estimated at $19 million to $23 million, based on updated costs of facilities built in Amherst and Rochester in the late 1990s.

“There definitely is a high demand for ice time,” Crangle said, adding that some groups are going outside the town to obtain it. “The availability of rinks is very limited.”

Crangle said he expects a report from Carmina Wood Morris within three or four months.

In other business Monday, the winners of the annual Ken-Ton Energy Efficient Holiday Decorating Contest were announced. Each winner receives a certificate and a $25 gift card, donated by the town’s police club.

Kay Swanekamp, of 32 Roswell Ave., won for the most energy-efficient display; Beverly Zambito, of 18 Lorna Lane, most holiday spirit; Mark Zirnheld, 1045 Colvin Blvd., most creative; Richard Skierczynski, 147 Warren Ave., most traditional; and Russ Polvino and Doug Redman, 1237 Tonawanda St., best overall theme.

email: jhabuda@buffnews.com