Life is easier when you have a friend. A nonprofit organization is making a comeback, intending to help support Stowe Arena.
Friends of the Jackson Arena, a nonprofit auxiliary fundraising organization that supported Stowe’s ice rink for years, met Jan. 16 for the first time since the death of Don Post, its president.
Post, 70, was killed in August when the glider he was piloting crashed into Sterling Mountain. He was beloved for his contributions to ice hockey, Stowe schools and Stowe Arena, and was president of Friends of the Jackson Arena until his death.
Friends of the Jackson Arena formed informally about 10 years ago when the idea of replacing Jackson Arena with Stowe Arena was first being discussed, said Leo Clark, who was part of the organization then and now will be its president.
It incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2011 and worked to raise both money and support for Stowe Arena.
After Stowe Arena was built, Friends of the Jackson Arena “went inactive,” as Clark put it.
“Don’s passing gave us the impetus to get back together, to reactivate ourselves,” Clark said.
Stowe Arena, built in 2013, has operated at a loss every year. In the fiscal year that ended last June, revenue was 8.2 percent below the year before. Two years ago, it needed thousands of dollars worth of repairs to its air system.
Debt payments from building the arena cost the town about $500,000 per year. More than half — $350,000 — comes from the 1 percent local option tax levied on meals and rooms in Stowe. The rest comes from the general fund.
Friends of the Jackson Arena could raise money for the arena, like the way Friends of the Stowe Free Library mounts fundraising operations, including a huge annual book sale, to help support the library.
Friends of Jackson Arena has a small amount of money left over from its heyday, and Clark said it plans to use a few hundred to retire Post’s hockey jersey and frame it in Stowe Arena, and then donate $2,000 to Stowe Arena to help replenish its rental skates and equipment for public skate time.
About 10 people attended the meeting, and Clark said they agreed to form a board of directors and meet again in March to discuss long-term goals for Stowe Arena.