With demand for sports facilities booming, Edina is weighing building a city-owned sports dome, as well as a new outdoor refrigerated ice rink.
Youth sports associations have been lobbying the City Council for a sports dome for years. A refrigerated ice rink would ease some of the pressure on Braemar Arena, where the city has had to balance demands for ice time between the city’s youth hockey association and a nationally prominent ice skating club.
In a recent work session, council members seemed receptive to the idea of expanding sports facilities near Braemar. A formal proposal is likely to come before the council this fall.
“I think there is general support for all of these things on the City Council,” Mayor Jim Hovland said at the end of the work session.
The 250-feet-wide sports dome would be built near Braemar. Depending on the design, it would contain one large playing field or two smaller ones. Ringing the interior would be a walking track that could be used for free.
The dome would be open for about half the year and would be heated. Estimated construction costs range from $5.4 million to $6 million.
“It would be primarily a practice facility and offseason training facility,” said Ann Kattreh, city parks and recreation director. “We have a lot of interest in it.”
Edina’s football, lacrosse and baseball associations and the soccer club have said they would rent dome time, Kattreh said. Rental rates would range from $275 to $350 an hour, depending on the time of day. Groups also would pay a $30 annual charge per participant, meaning dome charges would more than cover annual operating expenses, Kattreh said.
The outdoor refrigerated skating rink would be located between Braemar and the dome, which would block some of the winter wind. It would be in use from about Nov. 1 through March 15 and would cost about $2 million.
The rink would have a roof and heated benches. Kattreh said money could be saved by linking the refrigeration system to that in Braemar’s East Arena, which needs a technical update.
The new rink would provide about 750 more hours of ice time to the Edina Hockey Association. The association now gets about 43 percent of its hours at Braemar; adding the outdoor rink would boost that to 58 percent.
“The rink would be a significant benefit to skaters in Edina,” Kattreh said.
Edina residents would get first shot at prime hours at any new facilities. Kattreh said the outdoor rink likely would be available for adult programming like broomball. In the summer, the rink’s concrete base would make it an ideal site for futsal, a variant of soccer played with five players. Kattreh said futsal enthusiasts already have expressed interest in using the site.
If the city goes ahead with the projects, council members will have to decide how to pay for them. Those issues are expected to be addressed when the City Council discusses the projects later this year.