Ice is hot: Park City considers expanding arena
Ice is hot this week at City Hall.
Leaders on Thursday are scheduled to discuss the Park City Ice Arena’s future, most notably whether the Quinn’s Junction facility should be expanded. The popular arena does not have enough ice time to serve everyone that wants to lace up skates, City Hall staffers say, prompting the discussion about an expansion.
Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council are scheduled to spend 50 minutes talking about an expansion. The meeting starts at 4 p.m. while the talk about the ice arena is set to begin at 5 p.m. A public hearing is not scheduled but input is sometimes taken anyway.
Jon Pistey, the general manager of the arena, said options that will be considered include expanding the ice arena with a new rink or building a rink elsewhere. He said expanding the current facility is preferred.
Pistey said the elected officials are also expected to discuss the type of expansion to pursue if it is decided to move ahead. A bare bones facility or one that is nice enough to attract events are options, according to Pistey.
"We’re over 95 percent capacity. And that’s from 6 a.m. to midnight, 363 days a year," Pistey said about the popularity of the facility.
Between mid-2013 and mid-2014, Pistey said, arena schedulers could not accommodate more than 417 hours of requested ice rentals, such as for corporate events or family reunions. Another approximately 600 hours were not available for youth hockey and figure skating programs during the same period, he said.
City Hall and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District jointly built the arena, which opened in 2006. Voters in Park City and the Snyderville Basin approved bonds to fund the construction. Hockey players, speedskaters, figure skaters, curling teams and sled hockey players share time with recreational skaters.
The recreation district is considering asking voters in the Snyderville Basin to approve a $25 million bond in November. A City Hall report submitted to the mayor and City Council in anticipation of Thursday’s meeting indicates the recreation district would put $1,250,000 of the bond monies toward an expansion of the ice arena if the ballot measure is approved.
If City Hall does not move ahead with an expansion, the recreation district would take the $1,250,000 out of the $25 million, the report says.
"Basin Recreation is fully in support of the expansion of the Ice Arena at this time as one of the three top priorities for the combined populations for Park City and Summit County, but only if City Council is interested in collaborating on the expansion," Pistey wrote in the report.
Pistey said City Hall could fund its portion of an expansion by putting a bond on a ballot, most likely in 2015, or by shifting monies in the municipal budget from other capital earmarks to an expansion.
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Park City Council members have directed staffers to continue working on a plan to develop affordable housing on a site 1 ½ miles south of City Hall on Marsac Avenue. Staffers are recommending the city release a request for proposals (RFP) to find interested entities to participate in a public-private partnership to build the project.