Parks supervisors seek FLAMI board applications

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 17:05

Help wanted.

More than a year after an Anchorage Assembly memo called for broad changes at the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River, the center’s manager continues to issue optimistic financial reports. But one item still hasn’t been addressed: the two unfilled seats on the Fire Lake Arena Management Inc. (FLAMI) board of directors.

Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation board of directors member Brian Fay said that’s no fault of Mac Center manager Reid McDonald.

“We really haven’t done an effective job of putting it out there,” Fay said in an interview last week.

Fay explained that the parks board has not made the issue of the unfilled seats a priority.

“We were so focused on the other aspects of the contract that this was kind of a nonissue,” he said.

In February 2017, the Anchorage Assembly renewed the municipality’s contract with FLAMI, which has been the sole operator of the center since it opened in 1984. But strings were attached to the contract renewal, including calls for more frequent financial reports by center management, a new marketing plan and expansion of the FLAMI board from five to seven members with the establishment of six-year term limits.

Local parks manager Karen Richards said she’s seen just one application come through her office. Fay said the parks board is now trying to take a more active role in finding candidates and would like to be able to forward a list to the FLAMI board for consideration by the May parks board meeting.

“My intention is to get them a list of names to choose from,” he said.

The current FLAMI board is made up of Pat McCormick, Tom Huffer Sr., Lettie Devereaux, Sharon Wild and Sam Cotten. The board oversees the McDonald Center, which it operates as a nonprofit. The facility includes an Olympic-size ice rink, a 12,750 square feet turf field, a walking/jogging track and two community meeting rooms.

Fay said serving on the board is a big time commitment, but he’s hopeful that once word gets out about the open board positions, more applicants will step forward.

“Our primary interest and I think the intent of the additional board members is to diversify the board a little bit and provide some additional community support,” he said.

Parks board members would like to have at least two applicants to forward to the FLAMI board to review by May 11 in advance of the parks board’s May 14 meeting.

As for the other issues with the McDonald Center, McDonald said things are looking good.

At the April 10 parks board meeting, McDonald said efforts to increase sales of ice time at the center seem to be paying off, with an adult hockey league and planned summer hockey camps helping boost the center’s bottom line.

“The summer outlook looks great,” he said.

McDonald said he’s tried to solicit board members informally, but few people have been able to commit.

“We’re looking,” he said.

Anyone wishing to serve on the FLAMI board can contact Richards in the parks department at 343-1500 or visit them online at muni.org. Applications are available at the parks department office in the Eagle River Town Center Building located at 12001 Business Boulevard.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call 257-4274.

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