Debate Resumes on Brooklyn Park Ice Rink Conversion Plan
The city of Brooklyn Park and its residents continue to debate the future of an ice rink at the city’s Community Activity Center.
Brooklyn Park has two ice rinks at the Community Activity Center (CAC), at 5600 85th Ave. N.
The city is considering converting one of those ice rinks into three multi-use courts.
“There are two rinks, we’re only asking for one,” said Cindy Hill, Brooklyn Park resident and co-founder of the nonprofit Minnesota CHILL Foundation. “You still will be able to do what you need to do on that one sheet of ice.”
Another proposal would add new gym space with three multi-use courts to the Community Activity Center while keeping both ice rinks intact.
“I don’t understand why we have to remove an option for young men and women in our area when I think a better option would be to add,” said hockey coach and Brooklyn Park resident Dustin Stenglein.
A third project would remodel and improve entrances and other corridors at the Community Activity Center.
Rink Remodel Project Funding
The city has about $7 million set aside for these projects. About $2 million comes from the city’s voter-approved park bond referendum in 2018. Another $5 million in bonding dollars was allocated to the project by the state legislature.
Current estimates put the cost to improve entrances at the CAC at about $5 million. This project would likely be funded in-part through the $2 million allocation of park bond dollars. Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks Director Brad Tullberg said the city promised to complete this project when the 2018 bond was approved.
The remaining projects have a more significant funding gap.
Converting one of the ice arenas into gym space would likely cost about $6.6 million.
Meanwhile, the addition of gym space would like cost approximately $13.4 million.
Tullberg said the funding for these projects could potentially come from reallocated city funds, project partners, or general obligation bonds.
Council Wants A Needs Assessment
Brooklyn Park City Council Member Nichole Klonowski asked city staff members to conduct a needs assessment for courts and gym space. Ice sheet needs may also be considered in the assessment.
“We don’t have the money right now so we have a little bit of time,” she said. “If the need [for courts] is more than three, we should start planning financially and [a] location.”
A needs assessment could take several months, Tullberg said.
Brooklyn Park Mayor Hollies Winston and City Council Member Boyd Morson spoke to a public safety component of the gym space project. That is, youth in the community need a safe indoor space to play, they said.
“Either we invest now or we’re going to invest later through crime, through prisons,” Morson said.
Winston said the community is short on adequate basketball courts. He asked community members to come together and find financing for these projects.
“When we talk to youth — youth that I know — the basketball courts just don’t exist in the manner that they want,” Winston said.
Brooklyn Park City Council Member XP Lee said the city ought to focus on the promises it made to the community in the park bond before taking on other large projects.