Rink crews remain on schedule
Park City’s ice rink, unlike the Swede Alley parking garage, is on schedule and officials plan to open the facility in February, when they hope people are inspired by the Winter Olympics to lace up their skates. The facility is under construction at Quinn’s Junction, nearby the National Ability Center campus, and Colin Hilton, who directs City Hall’s capital projects, said in an interview that the government plans a grand-opening event the weekend of Feb. 24. Hilton said the city had hoped to open the ice rink as the Olympics are starting in Turin, Italy, at the beginning of February, but had also targeted its debut for sometime in February. He said the crews at the site have enclosed the building and the efforts are now on the interior, like installing the finishes. Just before Thanksgiving, the slabs were poured, Hilton said. The facility will hold an Olympic-sized ice sheet in a 46,000-square-foot building. The city plans a grand opening but details are not yet finalized. Hilton said the public will be invited to the rink for a free weekend for sports like ice skating and curling. He said it is coincidental that the ice rink will open during an Olympic year but said the timing could boost the interest in the facility. Hilton, who worked for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee before arriving at City Hall, said there is a "natural spike in interest" in sports like hockey, figure skating and curling in a winter when an Olympics is held. "We’ll be opening right as the Olympics are happening," he said, predicting a "surge" of interest and that Park City kids will be more aware of ice-rink sports. The ice rink is priced at $4.8 million, with voters in Park City and the Snyderville Basin approving $4 million in bonds to build the facility. The city is now attempting to raise between $800,000 and $1.5 million for the ice rink. Ex-Mayor Brad Olch’s foundation is soliciting potential funding sources. The foundation’s report regarding the fundraising possibilities is expected in mid-January, Hilton said. Meanwhile, a fields complex located outside the ice rink is expected to open later this year. Combined, the ice rink and the fields are priced at $11.5 million. There was lots of public support for the two projects, including the voter-booth successes for the two bonds. The supporters say that both residents and visitors will visit the facilities and that Park City will be better suited to host big tournaments like the Triple Crown women’s softball competitions. The Swede Alley garage, the other major construction project of 2005, is delayed about six weeks from its mid-December target opening date. The city expects that the garage, priced at $5.75 million plus $500,000 in related work, will be substantially complete and open by late January. It will hold 305 spaces, netting the city 277 spots since some spots on Swede Alley were lost to construction. Merchants have wanted a garage built for years.
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