Designs for the Cape Community Arena include amenities such as warming huts, locker rooms and skate rentals. Contributed / Caleb Johnson Studios

The group behind a proposed ice arena in Cape Elizabeth got the go-ahead Monday to begin working with the Planning Board on the project.

The Town Council’s 5-2 vote enables the Cape Community Arena Group to enter the next phase in its plan to build an open-air arena on town-owned property next to the Public Works building and adjacent to Gull Crest Fields off Cooper Drive. The group says it has one potential donor who has offered to fund the entire project, which is estimated to cost $5 million. 

Armed with feedback from the council in recent months and support from local stakeholders, the nonprofit group is ready to move forward, said its chairperson, Julie Furt.

“We’ve had informal discussions with Cape Elizabeth Land Trust about potential interest in wanting to do programming and educational activities at the facility,” Furt told The Forecaster.  “We have talked to Cape Community Services about what they might be able to do there on an informal basis, and we have talked to the hockey boosters.”

While Cape’s middle school and high school teams will benefit from the project, the group emphasizes that the arena is for the community and will have multiple uses.

“I recognize there’s a concern from some that there’s a special interest angle to this,” Furt said. “That’s not the intent.”


Selling ice time is “a revenue generator” so the town is not burdened with the costs that come with running the facility, she said.

“Our goal is to partner with the town to deliver Cape Elizabeth a unique resource that works for the community,” Jay Brandeis, a CCAG Board member, said in an interview with The Forecaster. “In the winter months, we would like Cape hockey teams to practice and play their home games at CCA, yet we also want to ensure as much open skate, open play as possible.”

Councilors Gretchen Noonan and Nicole Boucher voted against authorizing the group to move on to the Planning Board, both saying they wanted an official memorandum of understanding in place about the goals and extent of the project before allowing the group to move forward.

Town Manager Matt Sturgis said such an agreement is “critical as far as defining what the town’s expectations are” and that a document will be ready for council review March 14.

Councilor Caitlin Jordan said the agreement can be finalized as the group begins working with the Planning Board.

“We’re not signing permission and the land away,” Jordan said. “We’re just saying, ‘go have a conversation with the Planning Board and see where that gets you.'”

Early plans call for the arena to have a sloped roof and be open on three sides. Bleachers will be located on the one wall at the high end of the roof, and connected amenities will include a warming room, locker rooms, skate rentals and a workout room.

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