FLAMI board adds 2 new members

Saturday, July 21, 2018 - 18:07
  • The Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center in Eagle River is managed by the Fire Lake Arena Management Inc. board of directors. The board recently named two new members, Michelle Fletcher and Tony Boneta, raising the number of board members from five to seven. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

The board that oversees the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River has a new look.

In June, the Fire Lake Arena Management Inc. board of directors chose two names from a list of four forwarded by the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors to serve on the FLAMI Board of Directors. Added to the now seven-member board were Eagle River’s Michelle Fletcher and Tony Boneta.

FLAMI board president said he and the board — which includes Tom Huffer Sr., Lettie Devereaux, Sharon Wild and Sam Cotten — were pleased with the candidates forwarded by the parks board.

“I thought we had four really good candidates,” Pat McCormick said during the June 11 parks board meeting.

Fletcher works for Bristol Bay Native Corp., where she works as the company’s human resources manager. In her application, Fletcher said she has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from UAA and a master’s degree in human resources from the University of Illinois. She’s volunteered with several community groups, including the Cub Scouts, the Anchorage Public Library and at the Crossing Church in Birchwood.

A lifelong Chugiak-Eagle River resident, Fletcher graduated from Chugiak High School, where she was active in high school sports. She and her husband have two boys, ages 19 and 10, and she said she’s eager to get involved in the center where her youngest currently plays soccer.

“The Mac Center I think is an epicenter of what good residents of Eagle River looks like,” she said. “It’s just a solid foundation.”

Fletcher said she decided to throw her hat into the ring out of a desire to give back to the community she loves.

“I think there’s a lot of talent in Eagle River, I think there are some awesome residents that live in Eagle River and I just wanted to be part of something that is sports-related, too,” she said.

Boneta owns APB Land Surveying, which he opened after he retired from the State of Alaska. He’s been a Registered Professional Land Surveyor since 2001 and has volunteered with the Knik Little League, CYSA youth soccer and the Mustang Hockey Association, as well as a member of the board of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. He’s active in the local hockey community, and last year participated in the newly formed Eagle River Hockey League at the Mac.

Also a Chugiak High graduate (Class of 1979), Boneta has five children, 13 grandchildren and has lived in the area nearly his entire life.

“I kinda grew up in this neck of the woods,” he said.

His youngest son, Josh, plays hockey at Chugiak, and Boneta himself is a recreational hockey player who picked up the sport a decade ago at the age of 47.

“Everybody’s looking for a goalie,” he said.

Boneta said he always looked up to Harry McDonald as a youth and is proud to serve on the board that manages the center bearing the McDonald name.

“It just seemed to fit,” he said.

The facility on Harry McDonald Road in Eagle River includes an indoor sheet of ice as well as a 12,750-square foot indoor turf field, a walking track and meeting rooms.

Boneta said he has no immediate plans to shake things up on the board.

“I don’t see anything sweeping, so to speak,” he said.

The addition of two new board members was mandated by the Anchorage Assembly, which has the power to approve or disapprove the FLAMI contract. FLAMI was formed in 1984 with the sole purpose of operating the Eagle River recreation center. In 2016, the assembly imposed a set of conditions on the center and its operations after a municipal audit found several management and financial issues with the facility.

In addition to the new board members, center management has been required to provide regular financial updates to the local parks and recreation board of supervisors.

Boneta said he’s optimistic about the center’s future.

“From what I’ve read and from the people I’ve talked with it sounds like they’ve turned things around up there,” he said.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected]

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