I am writing to bring attention to what I believe is an oversight in the Orion Township Parks and Recreation department’s five-year master plan. The department’s own analysis identified deficiencies in our community’s recreational facilities, notably in two categories: ice arenas and tot lots. Ice arenas were marked with a deficiency rating of -2, underscoring a substantial gap in our local amenities. The master plan includes no provisions for the construction of an ice arena within our township, nor even a study of the feasibility of an arena.
Lake Orion and Oxford boast a large community of hockey players and figure skaters who currently face the inconvenience of traveling 30 minutes or more to the nearest ice arenas in Bloomfield Hills, Rochester and Waterford. This not only places a strain on our residents, but it also means our local economy misses out on the potential benefits of such a facility. All one has to do is drive around the township in the winter to note the proliferation of self-created ice rinks on the frozen lakes. These makeshift rinks highlight the absence of a safe, structured and easily accessible environment for ice sports. A community arena would serve as a beacon for engagement, offering a venue for local teams to practice and compete, reduce travel burdens and foster a stronger sense of community pride.
The absence of a plan for an ice arena in the master plan raises questions about the township’s commitment to addressing all aspects of recreational deficiencies identified. While we all understand that resources are finite and priorities must be set, the significant interest and need for an ice-skating facility should not be overlooked.
I urge the Orion Township Parks and Recreation department to explore viable options for integrating an ice arena into our community, whether through public-private partnerships, community fundraising efforts or allocation of township resources.