AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The area beside the Auburn Mall may look like an empty plot of land, but a private developer sees the potential for a twin ice sheet arena.
George Schott, the developer behind the Auburn Mall, has offered to give the city of Auburn a $2 million plot of land and finance an $8.5 ice arena.
Auburn City Councilors will review the proposal on Monday at 7 p.m.
Supporters from Lewiston/Auburn Youth Hockey programs held a press conference Friday to urge community members to voice their support for the proposal.
"This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this area," said Thom Labrie, co-director of the Bolts hockey player development program.
"If we wake up and jump in, we can see ground broken within a couple weeks," said Labrie.
Labrie said most of the questions and concerns involve the long-term lease the city of Auburn would have to sign. He said the lease could be as long as 30 years.
"When you look at all of the different groups and organizations that buy ice time, the chances of that facility not being profitable is pretty slim to none," said Labrie.
But the owner of the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston disagrees.
"In 35 years, and in the business that I'm in, where we manage facilities across the U.S., I have never seen a rink succeed with that amount of debt service -- ever," said James Cain, Colisee owner.
Cain said he supports the idea of more ice in the Lewiston/Auburn area, but doesn't believe the financial plan for the Auburn arena will be profitable.
He also said he doesn't understand why Youth Hockey organizers think they need another arena when they have the Colisee.
Andy Guerin, organizer of the Gladiators Hockey Program, said the Colisee doesn't have enough space for the area's 900 Youth Hockey players.
"One surface of ice in one facility, it's awfully tough," said Guerin.
He said teams have had to rent ice time from Bowdoin and Bates, among other arenas in Central Maine.
Denis Berube, co-director of the Twin City Titans said when the Lewiston Maniacs moved out of the Colisee and the Junior Pirates moved in, Youth Hockey got left behind.
"They're a much bigger facility and their focus is a lot different," said Berube. "What we need is an arena that's committed to youth hockey."