Finishing touches put on Fraser Valley ice rink project
Grand County, CO Colorado
FRASER – The Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation district is wrapping up construction on its new $2.265 million ice rink, “The Icebox,” this month, although the rink had its grand opening in early January and skaters have been hitting the ice there since Thanksgiving.
Parks and Recreation Director Scott Ledin estimates that some 4,000 people have already used the facility to date, based on rough counts.
“We’ve had tremendous community support for the project,” he said, adding that local ice hockey enthusiasts “helped turn this project into what it is today.”
Programming started at the ice rink in December with Intro to Hockey classes for 6 to 12 year olds. More than 20 kids participated in the initial class, Ledin said.
The newly formed Fraser Valley Hockey Association has been organizing both youth and adult leagues, including both recreational and competitive teams. Ledin said a total of eight adult teams have been formed to date.
The youth teams will ultimately be broken into age divisions, but right now the teams span a larger age range than ideal due to numbers, Ledin said: “We are building from the ground up.”
The youth teams will play mostly scrimmages this year.
Adult pick-up hockey is also played every Monday and Wednesday evening.
The ice rink also has open skate time slots almost every day that cost $2 for youth and $3 for adults that live in-district. (Season passes are also available.)
Skate rentals cost $3 and the rink has more than 120 pairs of both hockey and figure skates in almost every size available.
“We really wanted to make the rink affordable,” Ledin said.
While hockey sticks aren’t allowed during free skate, family stick and puck sessions are available on Wednesday and Friday through Sunday.
For those less interested in wearing blades on their feet, broomball is played from 8-9 p.m. every Monday, and the rec district has stocked up on the special “brooms” used in the sport.
Thanks to a $200,000 private donation from hockey enthusiast Bob Lamey, a $200,000 GoCo grant and a $182,000 Sprout Foundation grant, the rec district was able to afford almost all of its alternate options in constructing the facility, such as additional locker rooms, separate zamboni storage and a partial cover.
Boxwell Construction built the facility, which was designed with the help of a volunteer committee. Volunteers also installed the heat and chiller tubing and set up the dasher boards, an estimated in-kind value of $70,000.
The district still needs to raise more than $300,000 to purchase the refrigeration equipment for the chiller tubes and hook up the three-phase power necessary to extend the season on the ice.
“Right now we are relying on mother nature,” Ledin said. The district anticipates losing its quality ice sometime in March, depending on temperatures.
In the red
The ice rink’s budget for 2011 is a modest $55,000, and it is budgeted to end the year nearly $30,000 in the red. But Ledin points out that these are conservative estimates and that the district has been running a free, open-air ice rink for years, which always created a loss for the district.
The rink will employ one new full-time position and two new part-time positions. Austin DeGarmo will manage the rink in his role as Parks and Athletics Supervisor, which includes maintenance of the entire sports complex and many rec district programs. He will be assisted by Parks Foreman Deidrich Johnson and Athletics Coordinator Scott Lozar.
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