Parks and rec commission endorses ice arena expansion
November 5, 2015
The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission has thrown its unanimous support behind a proposal to add a second sheet of ice at the Howelsen Ice Arena.
Commissioners view the project as a benefit to local youth.
They also see it as an opportunity to generate more revenue at a city facility that currently requires a significant subsidy.
The endorsement came last week after several leaders of the local youth hockey, lacrosse and soccer organizations talked to the commission about how the expansion of the ice arena could benefit them.
Commissioners also got a look at some detailed financial projections for the new facility.
Kyrill Kretzchmar, recreation and enterprise services manager for the city, said the expansion would be profitable and would not require an additional subsidy from the city.
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“The only question is the maintenance,” he said.
He said maintenance on the expansion would be limited, because the expansion would include a roof and three open sides around the new sheet of ice.
He added maintenance costs could be covered by profits from the new expansion.
Soccer and lacrosse advocates said the roofed expansion at the ice arena could be used as a training ground for their sports when it’s too warm to maintain a sheet of ice.
City officials said private donors have pledged more than $1 million toward the $2.5 million expansion project.
The city’s contribution to the project would be $750,000.
The proposal will now go to the Steamboat Springs City Council for consideration.
Councilman Scott Ford previewed some of the factors council members will have to consider about the ice arena expansion.
He said he was “intrigued” by the idea but noted the ice arena project will have to be ranked against a long list of other parked capital projects that totals more than $155 million and includes such things as upgrades to the city’s water filtration plant.
Kretzschmar said the need for another sheet of ice in Steamboat is apparent.
He said the current ice arena is fully booked, and some user groups who use it must practice and play games after midnight or very early in the morning. He said the city also cannot offer consistent ice time for visitors for activities such as free skating.