Treadwell ice rink to open by February

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

If you get ice skates for Christmas, you'll have to wait about a month before you can use them at the Treadwell Arena.

The grand opening for Juneau's first indoor ice rink has been delayed. In September, plans called for a December opening. The city now hopes to have the arena open by February, Parks and Recreation Director Kim Kiefer said.

"We're working as hard as we can to do this, but we added $1 million in work since we awarded the bid," she said. "The contractor has been really good ... We have a 26,000-square-foot facility and they didn't break ground until June."

The ice rink was to have been built in two phases, but the city secured grant money after the project went out to bid, Kiefer said. The extra work includes a dehumidification system, electrical equipment, an access road, locker rooms, bleachers, and rubber flooring to keep ice skates from getting dull.

The city doesn't have an opening date yet for the rink, which is at Savikko Park in Douglas. Some construction work still might be under way when the doors open, but it shouldn't be noticeable, Kiefer said.

Contrary to rumors, the city will not open the facility briefly before its official opening, she added.

"When we open it, we're going to open it," she said. "We're not going to open for a day or one week here."

In another change, ice rink manager Greg Smith is leaving on Dec. 20, Kiefer said. Myiia Whistler, who coordinates youth sports for the Parks and Recreation Department, will fill the position through May. Parks and Rec will re-advertise the opening this summer when more rink managers are job-hunting, Kiefer said.

Ben White, president of the Juneau Recreational Hockey League, said the delayed opening shouldn't be a problem.

"We had initially planned on starting league play at the end of January, so if it does get postponed, it won't affect us too much, I hope," he said. "We've been working with the city all along to keep up with what's going on."

The league is for players age 18 and up and is planning to hold games three nights a week, White said. About 115 people have signed up and the league is grouping players by experience, he said.

"Everybody's waiting to get on the ice, especially with a warm winter like this one," he said.

Meanwhile, the Juneau Douglas Ice Association is planning sign-ups soon for youth hockey and ice-skating lessons, said organizer Ken Collison.

"We should have publicity next week out to the schools and in the paper where and when the sign-ups will be. And we're trying to get a Web site set up," he said. "We also applied for a grant for start-up equipment."

The group could use help organizing the figure-skating program, and anyone who is interested should call Collison, he said.

The public also will be able to rent the ice rink, Kiefer said.

"There will be plenty of public skate time and time for the public to be able to rent the facility," she said.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.



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