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Campion Project Slow in Developing

  • Kaden Lodieu, 10, of the Laconia Lakers looks out at the ice before his team's game against the Hanover Wild at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Hanover Wild squirts play against the Laconia Lakers at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. Squirts is the co-ed youth travel hockey program for ages nine to ten. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • A detail on a bench is pictured at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Zamboni cleans the ice after the squirts hockey game of the Hanover Wild versus the Laconia Lakers at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Macey Fields warms up with the Laconia Lakers before their game against the Hanover Wild at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lea Stone, of Littleton, N.H., tries to wave to Martina Vale Dwyer, who she used to nanny, of the Hanover Wild, during their game against the Laconia Lakers at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Members of the Rochester Blackhawks watch the squirts hockey game of the Hanover Wild versus the Laconia Lakers at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. Squirts is the co-ed youth travel hockey program for ages nine to ten. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Spectators watch the squirts hockey game of the Hanover Wild versus the Laconia Lakers at the James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, N.H., on Jan. 13, 2019. Squirts is the co-ed youth travel hockey program for ages nine to ten. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2019

West Lebanon — The proposed plan to expand the James W. Campion III Rink will have to be put on hold for another two years after not reaching its fundraising goals.

The Lebanon Zoning Board voted, 3-1, last week to grant the Campion Sports and Recreation Project a two-year extension on three variances and a special exception in order to raise the necessary funds for a plan first presented in 2016 for the facility on N.H. Route 10. John Souther, president of the nonprofit project, and Nate Stearns, attorney for the rink, presented to the board on Tuesday, noting financial hardships that have kept the project from reaching its goals. The proposed expansion will add an additional rink, allow the facility to operate year-round and nearly triple the building’s current footprint.

Souther declined to disclose how much money the project had raised and how close it was to reaching that goal.

“Our 100 percent volunteer organization has been working toward raising the funds needed to move the project forward,” Souther told the board on Tuesday. “We have received a number of pledges from the community and continue to meet with potential donors. We have yet to secure enough pledges and donations to start the construction process and, ultimately, to complete the project.”

The Zoning Board first approved the project in late 2016 following several months of debate. The facility’s hours of operation and the months in which it operates all were changed for the project, which is overseen by the Hanover Improvement Society, and concerns by neighbors of the facility were addressed. The Zoning Board gave Campion two years in December 2016 to raise the necessary funds.

The new rink project still needs to obtain wetlands permits and be reviewed by the Lebanon Planning Board before construction can begin.

Alan Patterson was the only board member who voted against the extension.

“I have a concern of raising money as a hardship,” he said on Tuesday. “I see that as poor planning.”

Board member Jennifer Mercer pressed Souther on where the fundraising currently stands, how close it is to reaching its goals and what has slowed the effort over the last two years. Southern declined to answer, saying he felt it was inappropriate to discuss the financial details of the fundraising effort in a public setting.

“We haven’t yet secured enough funding,” Souther repeated.

“Have you secured 10 percent or 90 percent?” Mercer asked.

“Oh, we’re definitely not at 90 percent,” Souther said. “We’re not a public phase of funding.”

Several board members expressed frustration by the lack of information. But in the end, the board gave the nonprofit a chance to continue searching for funds.

“We went through almost a year of doing this,” board member William Koppenheffer said in making a case to grant the extension. “To repeal the project, making them start all over again, that strikes me as a huge overreaction.”

Souther admitted there are several steps that will need to be taken once the fundraising is in place, but he demurred when asked if the project’s slow momentum has resulted in any frustration.

“If there isn’t enough money to build something, you can’t build it,” Souther said. “I’m a single dad with three kids and a full-time job. … When you’re a volunteer organization, things don’t go as quickly.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.