After taking heavy criticism from some of the more well-connected people in the Anchorage community, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has backed down on the Ben Boeke Arena.
Athletes, from hockey teams to figure skaters, will get their ice back from the mayor’s intended use of the arena for housing vagrants. The Sullivan Arena is still being used for temporary shelter, as it has been for several months per the mayor’s orders, and the ice skating community is down two rinks out of nine for the more than 4,000 kids who play hockey or figure skate in Anchorage.
Just last week, Assembly member Forrest Dunbar was putting the screws to the hockey community, inferring that they should actively back the controversial “Homeless Hotel” idea or they might not get their arena back for skating at all. The mayor has been holding it in reserve for use as an emergency shelter.
A protest at the Loussac Library one week ago brought out a hundred or so from the hockey community, and they made such a ruckus outside the locked building where the Anchorage Assembly was holding a semi-secret meeting that finally the Assembly had to take a 20-minute break. The horn-honking went on until long after dark.