Plymouth Studies Potential Ice Center Expansion
The city of Plymouth is considering an expansion of its ice center.
Currently, the three ice rinks at the Plymouth Ice Center don’t get a lot of down time.
“All three of them are programmed from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every single day of the week,” said Jennifer Tomlinson, director of parks and recreation for Plymouth. “It’s a very busy facility. It sees over 800,000 people into it a year.”
The Wayzata Youth Hockey Association spends a lot of time at the rinks. With more than 1,200 skaters they sometimes find the facility a little too crowded.
“Our association has continued to grow year over year,” said Tia Senenfelder, Wayzata Youth Hockey Association board member. “And we are fully maximizing the ice time we have available to us.”
According to Senenfelder, as hockey players “grow in their level, the amount of ice time they need increases.”
With a growing program, the association has to look elsewhere for additional ice time.
“We’re consistently sending our teams and our players to rinks in Osseo, in Brooklyn Park,” Senenfelder said.
Tomlinson said the association is “currently booking the equivalent of a fourth sheet of ice in other communities.”
With the high demand for ice time, Plymouth city staff and the hockey association partnered on a study of the Plymouth Ice Center.
They found they could fit a fourth sheet of ice at the Plymouth Ice Center, Tomlinson said.
Expansion Provides Benefits Beyond the Ice Center
In September, the Plymouth City Council gave city staff approval to continue studying an expansion project. But it’s still a long ways out.
“It’s a long-term project,” said Tomlinson. “We’re probably in the, like, five-year time horizon.”
According to Tomlinson, estimated costs for the project are about $35 million.
The project would likely be part of Plymouth’s larger “City Center” 15-year development vision, she said.
“We really are working to kind of put these puzzle pieces together,” Tomlinson said. “Which is why it is a little bit more expensive than what you would find in a traditional addition of a single sheet of ice.”
To build the fourth ice sheet, Plymouth would likely have to raise the city’s sales tax. To levy a local sales tax, the city would need approval from the state legislature. Voters would also have to approve it on a ballot.
But, it the project moves forward, supporters say the expanded ice center could provide benefits beyond the rinks.
“We’re able to not only have great hockey games and programming for our youth, but we’re able to really bring a lot of people into the city to partake in our restaurants, our entertainment,” Senenfelder said.
“The economic impact would be significant for our community because we would be able to host a lot more national events,” she said.