Kremmling: Funding deadline looms for ‘Roof the Rink’ effort | SkyHiNews.com
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Kremmling: Funding deadline looms for ‘Roof the Rink’ effort

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

The next few weeks will be critical in determining whether the “Roof the Rink” project in Kremmling goes forward.

Run by the Cattle Kings Youth Hockey Association, the project’s goal is to build a protective roof over the ice skating/hockey rink at the Red Mountain Sports Complex on the town’s eastern edge.

More than half of the total amount of money needed for the project has already been secured. About $350,000 of its estimated $550,000 price tag has been obtained in grants and donations.

However, the remaining $200,000 required to fully fund the project still remains to be found.

While finding more donors is key to the project’s ultimate success, it is even more crucial that they be found within the next couple of months because one of its major grants has a deadline.

“We have gotten a GOCO (Greater Colorado Outdoors) grant for $200,000 of the $350,000 we’ve already secured,” said Frank Culbreath, President of the Cattle Kings Youth Hockey Association. “But we can’t do anything with that money until all the rest of the funding is in place.”

The problem with the state-funded GOCO grant is that it has a time limit. Its provisions stipulate that the construction of the “Roof the Rink” project must be completed by the end of December 2008 for the $200,000 to be awarded.

“Realistically, we need to have all the money for the project in place by the end of February,” Culbreath said. “That would give us enough time to order the building materials and break ground on the construction this spring. If we’re not going by March, we may have to relinquish the GOCO grant because the building probably couldn’t be finished by the end of December.”

If that setback did occur, Culbreath believes it might jeopardize the project from ever being completed.

“We’ve already come a long way on this thing, and for it not to succeed now would be a big blow to everyone,” he said. “If we were to continue, we’d have to start from scratch again. It would be a shame if it doesn’t get built because our kids really deserve a good rink.”

The Roof the Rink project has been in the works for the past four years by the Cattle Kings Youth Hockey Association. That all-volunteer, nonprofit organization has sought out and applied for the grants and donations.

Building a roof over the skating/hockey rink at the Red Mountain Sport Complex is necessary to preserve its skating surface. The rink’s unshaded ice easily melts under direct sunlight even on cold winter days.

For example, despite the cold, snowy weather conditions of the past few weeks, the Cattle Kings hockey players were only able to hold their first practice of the season on their home rink last Thursday, Jan. 3 due to the condition of the ice.

“The hockey season for the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League starts in November and we can’t even get on our own rink until late December or January most years,” Culbreath said. “The temperatures might be cold enough earlier in the year, but the ice melts on the north end of the rink where the sun hits it.”

Culbreath said the melting of the unshaded ice not only creates a safety problem, but has really crimped the Cattle Kings from getting in enough practice time on the ice.

“We were one of the four founding youth hockey clubs in the Rocky Mountain Youth Hockey League, which has now grown to nine clubs across western Colorado,” he said. “But we’re only one of two clubs without either an indoor or roofed rink. All of those other teams get at least two more months use of their rinks than we do.”

By building a roof over the Red Mountain rink, Culbreath said the improved ice would add at least a month of playing time on either side of the Cattle Kings’ season. This would eliminate the need for Grand County hockey players to travel to Breckenridge and Eagle to pay to practice on their indoor rinks.

“Buying time on the ice for $80 to $100 an hour for our kids to practice really taps into our resources,” Culbreath said. “That’s a lot of money that could be spent on improving our own facilities and equipment.”

With reliable ice on their own rink, the Cattle Kings will also be able to host more hockey games.

“During the hockey season, other teams and their families will be coming to Kremmling and Grand County where they’ll be staying overnight and eating in local restaurants,” Culbreath said. “Having a covered rink will bring more people here in the winter months.”

Beyond the economic benefits to the community, a roofed rink at the Red Mountain Sports Complex will not only improve the ice skating and hockey experience in the winter, but will provide a facility for year-round use.

“We could design it so basketball could be played in there during the summer,” Culbreath said. “Car shows, flea markets, weddings, you-name-it could be held inside it.”

To make all this possible, the additional funding has to be found. And finding those necessary donors to secure the remaining funds is already under way.

“I’ve been talking with a couple of potential donors who could fund a good portion of the money,” Culbreath said. “But time is of the essence. I feel that if the community here in Grand County backs it, this project will succeed.”

Those interested in making donations to the project should contact Culbreath at (970) 724-9768. All donations will go to the Cattle Kings Youth Hockey Association. The funds will then be transferred to the town of Kremmling because it owns the Red Mountain Sports Complex where the rink is located.

“The town will be acting as our banker in this project,” Culbreath said. “Legally, all the money has to go through them. And Town Manager Ted Soltis and the town board have shown a lot of support for the project, and we appreciate it.”


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