The Mahtomedi area community hopes to build a $15 million ice arena on district land for area hockey and other sports programs.
So far, Rinc 2 Corp. (Recreational Ice and Neighborhood Center), the nonprofit that has been planning and will manage the ice arena, has received $700,000 in pledges, according to Alex Rogosheske, founder of the organization. The largest pledge of $400,000 came from a private citizen, he noted. The Mahtomedi Youth Lacrosse Association has pledged $100,000 for the cost of one wall; the association plans to have storage in the arena and use the outside of the wall for ball throwing practice.
The nearly 46,000-square-foot arena will have space for storage for various sports. The arena will seat 1,200 people and have a total of seven locker rooms. The arena bathrooms will also have access from indoors and outdoors so that those facilities can be used by sports teams year-round.
The arena will be patterned after the St. Croix Valley arena in Stillwater. $15 million is the top end of the nonprofit's fundraising goal. “Our plans can vary depending on how much money we raise,” Rogosheske said.
Construction would take about seven months. The arena would be located next to playing fields east of the high school and middle school. The land is owned by Mahtomedi Public Schools, which approved a 20-year land lease agreement for $1 per year in 2016. The school district will get a 5% discount on ice time.
With no mortgage and no property tax to pay, Rinc 2 Corp. expects the ice arena would be self-sustainable. Varsity programs and the Mahtomedi Youth Hockey Association would pay the current rates they pay for ice time. The ice would also be rented out to others. The estimated annual operating budget is $450,000 to $550,000.
The arena plans went through environmental reviews over the last couple of years and approval was granted by the Grant City Council earlier this year. Rinc 2 Corp. was founded by Rogosheske and Brandon Sampair, two lifelong area residents who grew up using outdoor rinks in the area. They started the organization because they saw the need for a rink.
“I was inspired to help because I grew up in Mahtomedi, played youth hockey in Mahtomedi, traveled early mornings and late nights for practice and never had a rink to call our home arena,” Sampair explained.
Hockey teams currently travel for ice time and often find it hard to get decent times to practice. The youth association had 540 registrants last year, up by more than 200 over the last 15 years.
“The ice arena will improve the youth hockey experience by providing a home arena but, more important than that, it will provide a gathering place for kids to see their friends and enjoy playing the game and watching their high school teams,” Sampair noted. “Similar to outstate arenas and youth programs, the goal for this arena is to provide a facility that becomes the focal point in the community and is used for sports, weddings, graduations, etc.”