YMCA and MV Ice Arena discuss possible merger

Leaders of the two organizations see the value in a shared campus.

MV Times file photo

Officials from the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard and Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena (MVIA) are in preliminary discussions about combining forces to either renovate or replace the existing ice arena.

Geoghan Coogan, MVIA board vice president, told The Times that he and YMCA Executive Director Jill Robie-Axtel began informal talks over the winter.

“The simple fact is the arena’s lifespan shortens every year,” Mr. Coogan said in an email to The Times on Tuesday. “Since its creation in the mid-1970s, the building has constantly been maintained to the best of our ability. With the long-term realities of what it would take to maintain an ice arena, talks began between Jill and myself to explore options of coming together in an effort to seek a new or rehabilitated facility in a cooperative fashion.”

Mr. Coogan was also on the board of directors of the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard during construction of the $10.3 million facility.

“We have a duty to this Island to make sure that these facilities are here for generations to come, and these discussions are the product of that mentality,” Mr. Coogan said. “So we are exploring options, and hoping that over the next several months we have a vision, and a goal, to start working toward.”

“At this point, discussions are very informal, and there are no concrete details,” Ms. Robie-Axtell told The Times. “We’ve had some meetings where interested parties could come to the table and share ideas. It’s exciting to sit in a room and talk to a lot of people that are interested in the future of sports and recreation on the Island.”