On Tuesday, a task force reviewing Ramsey County’s indoor ice arena system submitted 13 recommendations for the future of the county’s ice sheets to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners.
The report and its recommendations come after a review of the county’s arena system for much of the past year.
Ramsey County’s Parks and Recreation department manages 13 sheets of ice at 11 locations. Last April, the county board appointed a task force to study of the county’s ice arenas and come up with a long-term management strategy.
The group did not recommend immediately closing any of the county’s ice arenas. It did recommend several other strategies:
- Give priority to Ramsey County-based groups when scheduling ice assignments.
- Seek multi-year agreements with non-Ramsey County-based groups that include an annual capital improvement fee, giving that group priority in ice assignments.
- Hold ice rental rates at 2015 levels for Ramsey County groups and set higher hourly rates for non-county groups.
- Gradually convert arena cooling systems to ammonia-based systems. Officials say ammonia systems provide cooling that is environmentally-friendly and is projected to cost less to operate than other systems.
- Consider closing or repurposing an arena if use drops below 50 percent county-based groups – or if the percentage of non-county groups using the rinks rises above 51 percent at six or more rinks. Community input would be sought if this step is taken.
A copy of the Arena Task Force’s report with a link to provide public comment is available online at www.ramseycounty.us/arenataskforce. Comment may also be provided by calling 651-748-2500.