Parks Department Discusses Potential For Ice Rink

Mayor Joseph Thallemer spoke to the Parks and Recreation Board Tuesday in regard to a possible site for an ice-skating rink in Warsaw.

Thallemer stated the K21 Foundation made a $1 million grant for a facility in the area.

“The K21 Board, a week ago tonight, made it pretty much a priority to fund a $1 million grant for a central skating facility somewhere in the area here,” the mayor said. “Their only real requirement is they want some year-round capability to it, so it’s not just flooding a tennis court and skating for a little bit. They want a facility that’s going to give a little bit better experience as far as warming goes.”

The mayor said if people get cold while skating, they won’t come back.

Thallemer stated the one thing the foundation expressed was their desire for year-round use and a facility that families can enjoy.

“We can do it right without going overboard,” he said.

The mayor stated the original site by the pavilion was given a low priority by the Parks and Recreation Board initially.

One of the concerns with the placement was green space.

“You can’t recover that once it’s gone,” park board member Larry Ladd said.

Board member Larry Plummer said he doesn’t want to give up green space and get rid of it.

The Buffalo Street project was mentioned when coming up with a possible site. It was suggested by the K21 foundation that the facility could be placed adjacent to the Indiana American Water property.

That property is zoned for  a mixed-use facility and it was thought that a skating facility could work there.

“I don’t think we want to put anything in that doesn’t fit,” the mayor said. “We’re in the process of getting a designer and developer to draw that up and see what it looks like on that property.”

Ladd asked if the foundation is committed to have the skating facility in the Central Park area.

“I don’t think K21 has put any strings on this grant,” Thallemer said.

“It’s up to you all to make that final decision,” the mayor said.

The issue of money came up as an issue.

Board member Steve Haines stated he thought the skating facility cost $3 million to build when it was brought to them before.

Thallemer stated he doesn’t think the $1 million grant will cover the cost of building the facility.

Another big issue standing in the way is the money to keep the facility going once it is built.

But Thallemer said he may have access to a maintenance fund to cover that cost.

“I may have that fund already established or the possibility to get it established,” the mayor said.

Rich Haddad, president and CEO of the K21 Foundation, will speak to the board at the board’s next meeting at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 15 in City Hall.