MONROE, MI (WTOL) - It's been debated for years, but last night the decision to close this community ice rink and sports complex in Monroe, Michigan finally happened. City Council voted 4 to 3, to stop funding the 18-year-old ice arena for the 2016-2017 year.
The news was devastating for some who have skated and played hockey here for generations.
"I think everyone's a little down about it. I was hoping to play here this winter," said Joseph Schnorberger, a High School Hockey Player.
The Multi-Sports Complex was opened in 1998 and it costs about $430,000 a year for what is similar to a mortgage through 2023.
Monroe's Mayor Robert Clark says the cost simply wasn't sustainable when it was compared to the number of local residents using the facility. They're now discussing re-purposing the facility for other uses including recreation, but not ice skating.
Jack Nida, coach of the Special Olympics team in Monroe, was emotionally shocked by the city's decision to shut down ice skating at the rink.
"We rely on this facility to practice. I don't know what we're gonna do," said Nida.
The city is talking about plans to use the facility for other recreation and sports to save on cost.
"It's not an easy decision… had both use and budgetary considerations that were made at this time," said Robert Clark, Mayor of Monroe.
But the decision has left these kids heartbroken, who grew up on skates and were looking forward to their upcoming hockey season.
Mayor Clark says he has seen the petition that is being circulated, and the City will hear public comments at a special meeting next week.