From the Falmouth Patch
By Conor Powers-Smith June, 2012
Movers and Shakers: Paul Moore
While winning three straight ECAC Division III titles with Southeastern Massachusetts University, then playing two years in the International Hockey League, Paul Moore didn't know where he'd eventually settle. But in retrospect, returning to his hometown of Falmouth may have been inevitable.
“I don't see my life going any other way,” Moore says, adding, “Falmouth is a great place to raise your kids.”
Last Saturday, Falmouth received another in a long line of reasons to be glad Moore did return. After years of involvement in the Falmouth Youth Hockey League, during which he rose to become the organization's president, Moore unveiled the crowning achievement of his tenure at a ribbon cutting ceremony outside the new, state-of-the-art Falmouth Ice Arena.
What the public didn't see were the years of planning, hard work, and frustration behind the new rink. “It's been a daunting task,” Moore says, citing the many zoning restrictions and environmental regulations that made finding the right location almost impossible. “Every step of the way, we ran into hurdles we couldn't overcome.”
It was that kind of challenge that had already kept the project on the shelf for decades. The idea of a new arena dates back to 1981, when Moore, a senior in high school, had other things on his mind. At that time, the town had discussions on the subject of replacing the old rink, built in 1965, and even conducted formal feasibility studies. But nothing ever came of the idea, until, in 2005, Moore got serious about it.
The seemingly intractable problem of siting was finally settled when Moore worked out a land swap with the Steamship Authority, exchanging the property on which the old rink sat for seven ideal acres located at 9 Technology Park Drive (plus $1.6 million). The property was already considered developed, so there were no conservation issues, yet it remained empty, almost as if awaiting the structure that would soon rise there.
That structure, a 49,000-square-foot, one-and-a-half-sheet arena with seating for 700, is remarkable for much more than its amenities. More than 3,300 solar panels crowd its roof, and the roof of the adjacent parking shelter, generating electricity which, thanks to a power-purchasing agreement with ConEdison, will reduce the electrical rate from the 17 cents per kilowatt hour the FYHL was paying at the old rink to seven cents.
Moore estimates the resulting savings at $85,000 per year for the first 10 years, and $90,000 for the next 10. That, in turn, will allow the FYHL to improve on an area of its mission to which Moore is wholeheartedly committed.
“The mantra of the Falmouth Youth Hockey League has always been, 'keep it affordable for the kids in town,'” he says. Lower ice rates and tuition mean more children will be able to enjoy the rink, and all without a single taxpayer dollar, since the arena was financed mainly through private donations.
It all comes back to power, which ice rinks guzzle in prodigious amounts (in order to avoid becoming very large, very shallow swimming pools). As Moore puts it, “Rinks are traditionally energy pigs.”
By finding a way to dramatically cut his new rink's diet, Moore may have initiated a trend in his industry. At the very least, interested parties far beyond Falmouth are taking notice.
“Our phone's been ringing off the hook,” Moore says. Representatives of other rink-building projects across New England have been seeking his perspective and advice on what may turn out to be the next big thing.
Had things worked out differently, Moore may have been diligently working on one of those projects all these years. That's just one more reason for Falmouth to be glad he came home.
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