Steel staying put

5-year lease extension approved

NEW ULM — It became official Tuesday night at the New Ulm City Council Meeting when the City of New Ulm unanimously approved a five-year lease extension with the New Ulm Steel of the NA3HL.

The two had been in lease extension talks for several months and had a verbal agreement on the lease.

“It took a long time to happen, but I feel good about it,” New Ulm Steel owner Steve Black said. “It was not exactly what I wanted, but I feel comfortable with where we ended up. I think that both sides ended up giving. We met somewhere in the middle.”

It was a lease extension that both sides wanted to get done.

“I think it was a good thing that Lisa Fischer got involved as she represented the City Council,” Black said. “You have to look at the best interests of both sides. It was a good deal where we ended up.”

The Steel did receive an expansion of the Steel office in the New Ulm Civic Center and doors for a dedicated locker room.

“We were able to get that office expansion — we were cramping three people in a small area so we do have that office expansion which was needed,” he said. “And we have a dedicated locker room which is something that we really wanted. It is key for recruiting players. Construction will now hopefully start in August. We would like to have it done before the season starts but that may not happen as everybody is busy. I feel good about that too.”

New Ulm Park and Recreation Director Tom Schmitz said that getting the lease extension signed was a good thing.

“The Steel Junior Hockey team is a business and it is always good to have another business in the community,” he said. “This is a good thing for the community and the region.”

Black said that staying in New Ulm was important to the organization.

“We absolutely wanted to stay in New Ulm,” Black said. “One of my concerns was that it [negotiations] may have put a little bit negative light on the Steel but all we wanted to do is negotiate a new contract and get stabilty over the five years. New Ulm is near my hometown [Fairfax] and we love the community here. It makes us happy that we were able to lock in a lease extension for five years.”