City is optimistic ice rink will get built | AspenTimes.com

City is optimistic ice rink will get built

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen officials are optimistic that the new ice rink under construction at Iselin Park will be completed on schedule.

The City Council met again Monday behind closed doors with SPARC, the group that is working to raise $8 million privately to build the rink.

The city still has made no commitment to move forward with construction of the rink, but several officials voiced optimism yesterday that the project won?t sit unfinished when the rest of the new Aspen Recreation Center opens next spring.

The group has raised nearly $6 million, but some of that money has been spent on the fund-raising campaign, and some of it is in the form of pledges ? payments that will come in over time.

?There are other sources that are still pending that make this thing fundable and doable. It?s just a matter of agreeing on the terms,? said Scott Writer, a spokesman for SPARC (Friends for the Sports and Recreation Complex). ?We?re optimistic. We think it?s going to work out.?

?We?re more optimistic than last week, but we?ve still got some things to work out,? said Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.

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The council agreed last month that work on the rink would come to a halt unless SPARC could raise another $1.4 million to keep the project moving into the second phase of construction. At that time, SPARC had collected more than $5.8 million in donations and pledges. The group was given an Aug. 15 deadline to come up with the additional money.

Since then, the council and SPARC representatives have met twice in private to discuss the group?s progress and, presumably, whether the council has the confidence to proceed with construction based on funds that are yet to come in.

The city has already covered about $2 million in costs associated with the rink in anticipation of repayment through pledges.

If construction of the rink is halted and the project is finished at a later date, the delay could cost SPARC an estimated $500,000 to $1 million, said Matt Vickers, the group?s campaign coordinator.

?We?re optimistic that it will happen on schedule,? said City Attorney John Worcester. ?They?re still working on some details ? ways of making it happen.?

The new, NHL-sized rink will be part of the $17.6 million Aspen Recreation Center at the park, located across Maroon Creek Road from the Aspen schools campus. It will also include two new swimming pools, a climbing tower and new Aspen Youth Center.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]