Glenwood ice rink a cool idea for summer
Summer ice could be a cool plan.Hockey and skating enthusiasts in Garfield County and beyond would no doubt welcome the opportunity to lace up the skates throughout the summer months.Of course having ice in the summer isn’t as easy as just erecting some walls around the open-air facility now in place at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.There are staffing and maintenance issues, and the matter of a $175,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) that was given to the city in 1999 for the construction of the outdoor skating and hockey facility.The GOCO grant contract specified that the rink would be an outside facility and a GOCO spokesman said that money would need to be repaid if the rink were enclosed.It would be great for Glenwood Springs and the area’s skaters and hockey players to have access to year-round ice, and, ideally, a compromise could be reached with GOCO concerning the grant. But GOCO can’t be faulted for wanting its money to go toward outdoor projects. As GOCO communications coordinator Nate Forst said, “We’re Great Outdoors Colorado. Indoors facilities are not what we do.”It could be argued that the rink, with its roof and cooling system, is already far removed from a trail, park or open space project. Still, GOCO gives out the money and, therefore, gets to make the rules. And the rules were in place when Glenwood originally accepted the grant.While the repayment of the GOCO grant may put enclosing the rink in the near future out of reach, it is an issue that should be revisited often by the city. Hockey has been booming in the area and there is no slowdown in sight. At some point, it may be worth repaying the grant in order to reap the financial rewards of using the facility year-round. And patrons of the rink would no doubt enjoy taking their traditionally winter sports onto the ice in the summer months.With so much interest in skating, the city should keep the dialogue open and not let this issue cool down.
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