Group has a vision for fixing local ice arena

Save the Rink Inc. faces an uphill battle, but it’s a battle they are willing to fight.

Attorney Rob Pierce, president of Save the Rink Inc., laid out two plans to reopen Glacier Ice Arena, which closed June 13. Close to 70 people attended the open forum public meeting Tuesday night at Showtime Productions, 2148 Broadway. Glacier, 2515 Riverside Parkway, opened four years ago after several years of efforts by supporters to build and operate the rink.

“I am thrilled with the turnout,” Pierce said. “Given things are in such a state of flux, I’m thrilled with the turnout. It shows me everyone is thinking hard about ways to do this. We’re going to need input from everybody.”

Plan A would try to persuade the bank, which Pierce would not identify, making the loan to owners Alan and Robbie Koos to shave some of the estimated 1.5 million-dollar principal, reduce the interest rate or extend the life of the loan.

That hinges on the type of loan.

“If the bank has a 100 percent guarantee from the SBA (Small Business Administration), then I don’t have any negotiating leverage,” Pierce said. “I know there are SBA guarantees involved, but I don’t know the degree.

“Once we understand that, we want to cobble together donations from other entities in the community that may be able to contribute small amounts so we can bridge that million and a half dollar gap.

“I want to raise a few hundred thousand so we have leverage within the negotiations and we can bring other people to the table to cover the rest.”

The bank hasn’t given the group a deadline to come up with a plan.

If those efforts fall short and the foreclosure process is complete, Pierce will go to Plan B and try to persuade the potential buyer to keep the facility as an ice rink by raising money to offset the costs of changing the facility into something else.

There is a hurdle with that.

“If the bank is in the foreclosure process, they may chop it up (and sell off compressors and other working parts),” Pierce said. “We may lose assets we would have to replace and make it more profitable to turn it into a warehouse. If that happens, we need money to bridge the gap to make it a rink.”

In addition, the rink has a faulty refrigeration system. Repairs are estimated as much as $800,000.

Despite the challenges, many are optimistic the rink will be saved.

“I’m convinced it will (reopen),” ice hockey men’s league player Ned Carey said. “Once you put on skates and you know how to play hockey, there is no sport better. There’s every bit of every sport.

“You can get used equipment donated. It’s expensive, but it could be less expensive. It was so hard to get a rink here, to lose it would be a mistake.”

The City of Grand Junction Parks and Recreation would be willing to add city programs if the rink does reopen, Parks & Rec Director Rob Schoeber said.

“(Pierce) did a very good job of framing up the two different areas,” Schoeber said. “He’s on the right path. I look at it as the old adage of building a village. This is part of the puzzle of building a village or a community. We want to support what is best feasible for the community.”


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