Thanks to more than a week of steady progress by construction crews, the St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is on target to reach its 70-foot height by Jan. 25, officials said Tuesday. Thanks to the financial commitment of St. Paul-based Ecolab, it’s also likely to meet its $800,000 fundraising goal. In exchange and in thanks for that commitment, the palace was dubbed the Ecolab Ice Palace in a gathering at the Ordway.
Ecolab officials would not say how much they have committed to the project. And Dan Stoltz, chairman of the carnival’s ice palace committee, said sales to the public continue for 400-pound ice blocks.
But the announcement that Ecolab has put some financial heft into the game should make it clear to other potential sponsors that the Rice Park palace is a project worthy of St. Paul, Stoltz said. More than 1,000 people have bought individual blocks to date.
“This year’s carnival and this amazing ice palace will build on the history of our civic celebration,” Stoltz said. “Ecolab’s amazing support and partnership is another example of the important impact they continue to have in our community.”
Kris Taylor, Ecolab’s vice president of community relations and the Ecolab Foundation, said employees can see the palace rise from their offices near the park and excitement is building. One of the palace towers already is more than 30 feet tall.
“We just think that St. Paul should shine,” she said of the company’s involvement. “We’re happy and proud to be a part of it.”
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said he is also excited and proud to see the palace project taking form. He grew up in St. Paul and visited several of the Winter Carnival’s previous ice palaces and said he has two goals for this one. First, he said he hopes visitors to the Super Bowl Feb. 4 will feel welcome in St. Paul and impressed by the palace and, second, that St. Paul residents fully enjoy the cold and the carnival.
“This ice palace meets both tests,” he said.