By Anna Jauhola
In an emergency meeting on Tuesday March 30th, Hallock City Council approved a resolution for the city to fund a grant to build an outdoor ice rink.
Within the last month, Hallock Youth Hockey – a non-profit organization – was looking for grants to build the ice rink. Brett Sobolik, vice president of youth hockey, spoke to the council about the grant.
“The only thing I could find was a DNR Outdoor Recreation Grant,” said Sobolik. “It’s specifically about outdoor ice rinks.”
The grant application was due on March 31st, hence the emergency meeting.
The idea has been floating around for a while. The town once had an outer rink that was located between the ice arena and Kittson Central School at the north end of town. This free plot of land is the destination for the new construction of an outdoor facility.
Youth hockey officials say an additional ice rink will allow younger hockey players more ice age as the first ice age goes to college players immediately after school.
The program is a matching grant with the sponsor who is responsible for 50 percent of the costs. While the resolution gives city manager Aimee Sugden the authority to administer the grant, Sobolik said youth hockey and other volunteers will be ready to help with the construction and maintenance of the structure.
“When it snows, we have planned that we can use a skid steer loader to clear it up and Zamboni the ice,” he said. “We’ll be able to do it pretty easily.”
Sobolik said the application was straightforward but needed permanent relief from the landowner and a solution from the city. The Kittson Central Board of Education granted permanent relief on March 24.
Within three weeks, Sobolik raised $ 50,000 in donations from individuals, corporations, and other donors. Hallock Youth Hockey donated $ 25,000 to the project. Volunteers and companies are donating $ 10,000 worth of materials and time to complete the rink.
Sobolik estimates the rink could cost around $ 170,000 to build based on offers from various contractors.
“I didn’t know if I could do everything, but it worked,” said Sobolik. “Hopefully we can get this funding.”
The grant guidelines on the DNR website state: “The local portion can be cash or the value of the material, labor and equipment consumed by the local sponsor, or donations, or any combination thereof.”
The project proposes a 135-foot by 65-foot cement cushion as the base for the ice rink. Sobolik said a cement base will allow the rink to be used all year round – ice in winter, roller hockey and pickleball in the warm months. This costs approximately $ 44,000. The previous outer lane had a dirt / gravel base that was difficult to maintain and didn’t even allow ice.
The project also includes new lighting to ensure maximum use of the rink, which will cost approximately $ 18,000. Site preparation will be approximately $ 15,000.
The most expensive part of the project are the sideboards. Sobolik turned to Becker Arena Products for a quote on aluminum-framed boards with UV-protected material that could withstand the elements. The offer was $ 93,000, but Sobolik said these would take 20 years or more and are well worth the investment.
Sobolik reminded the council that the numbers he is submitting for the grant are only an estimate. The DNR will announce grant recipients in July.