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Chesterfield Valley ice rink plans previewed at town hall meeting; could open in 2018

Rendering of an ice arena proposed for the Chesterfield Valley

Rendering of an ice arena proposed for Chesterfield Valley

The proposed new ice rink complex in Chesterfield isn’t based on the, “If you build it, they will come” proposition made famous in the movie “Field of Dreams.” Instead, proponents of the multiuse sports facility say their bywords are, “Build it, so they will stay.”

“They” in this scenario aren’t limited solely to hockey enthusiasts, although that group clearly is a key one in the Chesterfield Hockey Association’s plans to build the $22.6 million complex south of Interstate 64 and west of Spirit of St. Louis Boulevard in Chesterfield Valley. The operation also will welcome recreational and figure skaters, aficionados of curling and other ice-related sports and activities, as well as off-season alternative uses such as shows, meetings, graduations, conferences, community and charity events.

A town hall meeting for those interested in the new facility featured these and other details, along with responses to questions about the proposed operation.

Mark Kraus, Chesterfield Hockey Association [CHA] board chairman, said the goal is to have the complex up and running in time for the start of the 2018-19 season. He said the timetable is aggressive, but can be accomplished, especially if an upcoming fundraising effort is completed on or ahead of schedule.

Time for final project planning, approvals and actual construction also is included in the proposed schedule.

Financing the new rink is based on three ingredients:

• $8 million in contributions from corporations and other businesses, individuals and prospective tenants; gifts of needed goods and services; and income from advertising, sponsorships and naming rights. One large donor already has pledged a substantial sum for matching contributions made by others, Kraus added.

• $7 million from the Chesterfield Valley Transportation Development District for road improvements, utilities and parking facilities. An affirmative vote by residential property owners in nearby subdivisions is needed to maintain a 3/8-cent sales tax paid by those making purchases from businesses in the Valley’s levee-protected area. The sales tax originally was approved by voters in a 2005 election and projects spelled out for the district have been completed or are close to it.

• $7 to 8 million in bank financing. Kraus noted several banks already have expressed interest in the project.

With the Hardee’s Iceplex soon to close to make way for a Top Golf driving range and entertainment facility on the eastern side of the valley, CHA, along with various hockey clubs and others using that location, will be displaced. Retail businesses, restaurants and hotels that have benefited from traffic the rinks have generated will be adversely affected, Kraus said.

CHA will continue its numerous hockey-related programs at other locations during the next season and until the new facility is up and running.

Included in the proposed complex will be two rinks – one for practice and one for competition – with locker rooms between them. Above the locker rooms will be a large viewing area overlooking both rinks.

A pro shop, skate rental area, offices, restaurant and bar, large lobby and space for rehabilitation and training also will be in the building. The parking area will double as an area for off-ice training and a gathering spot for runs and other events.

Kraus asked for the community’s continued support of CHA programs and activities and requested donations, including financial gifts, products, services and volunteer time. He also welcomed suggestions on funding sources and help in securing a positive vote on the TDD issue, a vote that could be conducted as early as this spring.

Kraus asserted that the CHA rink and others proposed locally are not in competition in a large metropolitan area having a major interest in hockey and other ice-related sports. The additional rinks are needed wherever they are located, he said.

In response to a question, Kraus noted the city of Chesterfield will not be involved in the ownership or operation of the proposed facility. CHA plans to hire professional management for the complex.

Those wanting more information about the new facility can visit the CHA’s website, Facebook page or a new website at www.chesterfieldsportscomplex.org.

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