Demolition of the Essex Memorial Arena started Tuesday morning.

Lions Group Inc. was the successful bidder in the tendering process. The building was decommissioned and approved for demolition beforehand.

Essex Town Council approved the tendering process in 2014 and budgeted $160,000 for demolition in the 2015 budget.

The refrigeration system was removed and all utility connections were capped in the spring.

“Once demolition is complete, the site will be graded and seeded,” says Doug Sweet, director of community services. “The draft Master Plan includes recommendations related to developing this site for future recreational activities.”

A series of public open houses will be held in August to allow residents and users to review the recommendations and provide input.

The arena was built in 1960 as an open-air rink.