SPARC: Aspen needs 2 rinks |

SPARC: Aspen needs 2 rinks

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The group that raised money to build an ice rink at the Aspen Recreation Center doesn’t want the Aspen Ice Garden to go away any time soon.

Donors to the new $8.6 million rink at the ARC didn’t put up money for a second sheet of ice in town only to see the first one go away, according to Scott Writer, a board member with SPARC, the group that spearheaded fund-raising for the ARC rink.

However, an existing agreement between the city and SPARC allows the city to reduce the hours of use, or even sell the Aspen Ice Garden, after Aug. 30, 2005.

SPARC would like to see that date extended to Aug. 30, 2018, Writer told the City Council on Monday. Otherwise, a new council could decide to turn the ice garden into a housing project or something in a couple of years, he noted.

Council members were willing to extend the date in the agreement, but not until 2018. They ultimately tabled the decision.

“I can see certain scenarios where, in 10 years, it would be to everybody’s advantage to have some flexibility on this,” said Councilman Tim Semrau.

“I just think this is unnecessarily restrictive,” he said. “I’m a little hesitant to put it this far out in the future.”

“I think 2018 is far too long,” agreed Mayor Helen Klanderud.

The city recently invested $1.5 million in the Aspen Ice Garden, giving it another 20 to 30 years of life, according to Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.

Other conditions in the agreement with SPARC would prevent the city from selling the ice garden unless the city’s experiencing a severe financial strain or there’s a lack of demand for the rink, noted City Manager Steve Barwick.

Writer predicted there will continue to be demand for two sheets of ice, especially in the winter, if not year-round.