It took years to convince city leaders to invest in a local ice rink, but as soon as it opened the facility was swamped with enthusiastic skaters. Now, less then a decade later, Park City and the Snyderville Basin Recreation District are considering expanding the facility.
Until the arena's opening day in 2006, aspiring figure skaters and devoted hockey players had to commute to busy ice sheets in Salt Lake, Provo and Ogden. But now, with a rink close to home, local clubs and leagues have grown to the point that it is difficult, if not impossible, to schedule ice time. According to a report presented to the Park City Council this week, over the last year Park City Ice Arena organizers have had to turn down 417 hours worth of requests for ice time. That not only represents a lot of disappointed skaters, but also lost revenue.
This time, elected officials don't need to be convinced that an ice rink is a good fit for the community. As an internationally known destination for winter sports, another ice sheet is a natural fit for our community. The question is more about how big and elaborate it should be.
Ultimately that decision will be up to voters. Expanding the existing arena or building a second one will require asking constituents to approve a bond, perhaps as soon as this November. However, despite skaters' excitement about the prospect, in order to garner support for the project, elected leaders will need to carefully gauge voters' priorities and craft a smart proposal.
There is already talk of designing a facility that could also serve as a large event center adding those features, though, would increase the cost of the facility. Alternatives include more modest proposals, from adding a bare bones ice rink nearby to duplicating the current arena.
Over the years, residents in Park City and Snyderville have repeatedly supported measures to build or improve many public amenities including parks, trails and recreation facilities. Without exception, those decisions have turned into wildly popular community treasures. It is exciting, then, to turn our attention toward the already successful Park City Ice Arena and to contemplate making it even better. We hope citizens will take an active role in the upcoming dialogue.