Hamilton Center will close Sunday to begin more than a monthlong restoration of its interior, intended to bring back the original look of the building that opened in 1958.
When it reopens in early June, the result will be something that is a tremendous benefit to the community — in more ways than one.
First of all, the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department project provides a break to taxpayers, which is laudable and appreciated.
Interior renovations are a continuation of a $3 million facelift that began in 2011, but the latest project is being paid for by a private fundraising effort led by former Cummins Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jim Henderson. About 90 percent of the $1 million needed has been raised through donations by generous, community-minded residents.
Not only is this an investment in excellence in the city’s parks buildings, this is an investment in the quality of life in Columbus.
Hamilton Center has been a great resource because the ice arena allows residents — and local workers who are commuters from other communities — to pursue passions such as hockey and skating.
Some improvements are aimed at improving the main and studio ice rinks, adjoining locker rooms, ice arena restrooms, the ice arena lobby and storage space.
The renovations will have a broader benefit, too, because they will allow the center to be used for more community events. The parks department wants to convert Hamilton Center back into a community center and meeting place. Part of the lobby will become a new community room, available to be used for weddings, wedding receptions, graduation parties and meetings.
Columbus takes pride in offering many assets available for public enjoyment. Such investments also can have an impact on economic development, as companies considering locating in the Columbus want to make sure their employees enjoy living here. Well-maintained parks facilities contribute to that experience.
The renovations to Hamilton Center align well with the city’s goal of enhancing the quality of life for its residents.