A squirrel caused about $300,000 in damage to the new McMillen Community Center in Fort Wayne, In., set to open in June, according to officials on Friday.
Parks Department officials told board members Thursday that the squirrel got into the electrical equipment of the building in McMillen Park on April 1, causing a power surge that damaged the heating and air conditioning systems and some parts of the boiler system.
The squirrel did not survive.
Parks director Al Moll said the repairs will be covered by insurance, minus the department’s $50,000 deductible.
Crews are working to make repairs so the center can open as planned on June 7, and the company that installed the HVAC systems is rushing to replace them, according to the department's Steve McDaniel.
The McMillen Ice Arena closed in 2009. A $1.9 million project is transforming it into a community center that will host basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor track, an indoor soccer field, and other activities. It will also have multipurpose meeting rooms.
The entire project is estimated to cost about $4.5 million.
In September 2013, Mayor Tom Henry, upon announcing the contractors chosen to renovate the space, said of the new project:
"I continue to be encouraged by the positive momentum in our City,” said Mayor Henry.
“The McMillen Community Center is going to be a tremendous investment. City Councilman Glynn Hines and citizens in southeast Fort Wayne have been champions on this effort. We look forward to the entire community being able to use and enjoy this unique and needed destination place,” the mayor said.
Image via Wikimedia Commons