For St. Louis County residents, it seems the words ice rink construction can make one’s blood boil but at least in the City of Clayton a new ice facility is coming that has the approval of its citizens.
Patty DeForrest, director of parks and recreation for the City of Clayton, said that the city has been researching what do with the previous facility for over almost ten years.
“Do we build a new one? Do we tear it down and not rebuild? Do we renovate the old? We’ve done a lot of community outreach to see what the community wants,” DeForrest said. “Pretty regularly what we get is somewhere between 65 to 67 percent of the community want us to keep the ice rink at least in some way.”
DeForrest added that the Board of Aldermen has decided to keep an ice rink in Clayton and to do so the city would have to build a new one.
“The renovation of a building that age and size is sometimes much more expensive than building a new one,” she said. “You’re not able to address things like access issues and some of the bigger problems that you would have with the building.”
The new ice rink facility will now be 200 feet, allowing it to be the standard size for high school hockey. Additionally, the building would serve the need of the Tennis Center in the off-months and be more power efficient according to DeForrest.
Along with serving the needs of the Tennis Center, the new facility would also play host to field sports during the summer months. The building would allow the City of Clayton to host farmers markets, food and art fairs, along with movie nights.
For the past year, Clayton has been working with Jacobs Engineering to design and prepare the new layout of the facility.
According to DeForrest, one of the most common complaints about the previous ice rink was the drop-off area for children.
[Parents] didn’t like the current drop-off situation where you drop a kid off and they to go around the back of the building to get in — you never really see your child enter,” she said. “We’re moving that function to the front of the site and creating good drop-off sites and ADA accessible parking so that people who need the accommodation can park up front.”
The new facilities would cost $7 million and would be paid for by bonds. The City of Clayton is also applying for municipal park grants to offset building and operating costs. The city stated that no new taxes would be created to fund the project.
DeForrest added that she believes the new facility would better accommodate year-round participation with better community activities and events.
“I think it’ll be wonderful to have a site that’s active and vibrant year-round. I think that’s what we’ve always heard that this is a key place in the park and three months it’s really active but the rest of the year it’s empty,” she said. “I think the fact with increased activity and usage of the park is what we’re shooting for. I think it’ll make people happy to have a much more utilized park moving forward.”
The new multi-use facility is expected to be completed in Fall 2019.