The city of Kodiak Department of Parks and Recreation has started raising funds for an enclosed ice rink that is part of the Baranof Park Project.
Parks and Recreation Director Corey Gronn said that, with an estimated budget of $1.8 million, the department plans to enclose the existing rink and make it suitable for all types of weather and for many uses.
With the $1.8 million, the department would like to expand the current building by about 4,500 square feet and provide locker rooms, restrooms, changing rooms and an area for skate rentals, Gronn said.
“To maximize the use, we would have two stories, and we want an elevated three-lane walking track or deck … for those who want to get out of the weather even in the summer,” Gronn said.
Gronn reiterated the importance of enclosing the rink and adding changing rooms because of weather issues.
“You’re outside getting your kid dressed. It’s blowing southeast 30 (mph). They’re getting wet, you’re getting wet.” he said.
Gronn also said the department has contacted contractors about installing dehumidifying and fire protection systems.
To pay for this project, community members have joined forces to raise funds, he said.
The project currently has $100,000 from the department’s capital budget, and the group is looking at other ways to raise money through donations and grants.
“Our intention would be to solicit and apply to a Rasmuson Foundation Tier 2 grant,” he said, adding that he is communicating with the foundation.
The department plans to begin construction in May 2021 and have the new ice rink completed by October of the same year.
To illustrate the importance of this project, Gronn explained how the hockey team had to cancel practice throughout last season because of 50 and 60 mph winds that were blowing leaves, dirt and dust onto the ice, making the surface unsafe for the players.
Since the Kodiak Hockey League became a nonprofit three years ago, the league has had 200 kids sign up to play each year, Gronn said.
“The ice rink is a community facility. It also has some economic advantages,” Gronn said. “We’ve had teams from Homer traveling down here … The recreation community is growing.”
Council Member Richard Walker said he fully backs this project.
The ice rink “is a multi-purpose facility. It’s not just the hockey team. The place is full of basketball players most of the time. It really gets a lot of use,” he said.
The ice rink is slated to open on Tuesday at 11 a.m.