Woodbury Firm on Third Ice Sheet for Bielenberg Sports Center Expansion

Hockey parents urge city to consider enclosing outdoor rink.

City officials were clear: there’s not enough demand for ice time to warrant a third enclosed rink at the Bielenberg Sports Center.

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday got the latest updates on the Bielenberg Sports Center expansion project. Plans call for a permanent field house to replace the aging dome and an outdoor ice sheet reserved for leisure skating, along with an updated lobby and other improvements.

But much of the discussion Wednesday focused on the needs of Woodbury’s youth hockey community—some saying the groups are shouldering an undue burden for the facility’s operating costs and others urging the city to have an enclosed ice sheet instead of an outdoor rink for leisure skating.

The latest estimates put the project at $21.8 million. The outdoor rink would be built so it could be enclosed at some point in the future; that would cost $7 million to $9 million.

Tom Jakubik said Woodbury families often drive to River Falls, Wis., for ice time and spend their money outside the city. Woodbury will also add thousands of new residents in the coming years and many of them will have hockey-playing children, he said.

“I want that third rink,” Jakubik said. “I think there is a need for it.”

The city wouldn’t be able to add an enclosed rink to the project without raising taxes, securing a sizable donation or a holding citywide referendum on the matter, City Administrator Clint Gridley said.

“It just doesn’t make financial sense for us,” he said.

However, the city could add boards to the outdoor rink for about $60,000, said Bob Klatt, Parks and Recreation director.

Ice-rental hours are down industry-wide, Klatt said, and the city has been conservative with its projections for the facility’s financial viability.

Said Gridley: “Operationally, it will be self-supporting.”

Staff and council also noted that officials from area hockey groups were involved in the planning effort, and meetings with the Bielenberg Sports Center Expansion Task Force resulted in the project as it stands now.

“We have had a very inclusive process,” Councilman Paul Rebholz said, adding that Woodbury has traditionally had heavy citizen involvement in these types of projects.

Councilwoman Julie Ohs said people may not want to hear it, but “it’s not called Bielenberg Hockey Center.”

Still, resident Vickie Hendrickson, who has three children who play hockey, said she would be willing to work with the city and local clubs to find alternative funding mechanisms for enclosing the outdoor rink.

Council members seemed open to that, and Councilman Christopher Burns said Wednesday’s meeting could open the door for a new round of discussion.

“What are these creative options?” he said.

Woodbury has worked to make it a “dynamic space” that serves the city as a whole, Gridley said.

“We feel that there’s something for everybody,” he said.


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John D. December 04, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I honestly believe there is a riff between the city, parks and rec, and Woodbury Hockey association. Why do I live in Woodbury, pay my taxes in Woodbury, pay hockey fees in Woodbury (which are very expensive) yet I spend 75% of time outside Woodbury. Something is wrong with this picture when park and recs claim they are not utilizing ice time at Bielenberg, yet the hockey association is going to Wisc, St Paul, and S. St Paul for practices. Notably spending nearly $200,000 at Harding. (not even sure if it includes remodel). Figuring skating team is relegated to practicing elsewhere, and the boys East Ridge team practices at Cottage Grove. Now Woodbury would like to develope Woodbury Fields and Bielenberg Gardens, adding over 6300 homes right next door to Bielenberg. I call that irresponsible planning. 6 years from now they will looking for $12 million to enclose the outdoor rink. Cost will have risen and interest rates will have gone up. The city council needs to seriously look at the entire picture. Lets not get caught up in appearance. Lets be more concerned about what is on inside for which the citizens of Woodbury will be utilizing.
Scott December 05, 2012 at 02:20 PM
So let me get this straight. We are RENTING and upgrading a Harding Arena while supporting Ramsey County and the East Ridge High School hockey team is RENTING a sheet of ice at the Cottage Grove Arena. Cottage Grove doesn't even want The team at the arena. So how in the world can you say that their isn't enough demand for a 3rd sheet of ice. Are you insane? If you think ice is hard to come by now, just wait until we start developing South of Bailey. can't wait for the next Woodbury City Council Election cycle.
John D. December 10, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Missed our chance last month to vote the whole council out!! The way things look, the Woodbury Hockey Association will have to update thier info on hockey to include; 'hockey in Woodury does not nessicarily mean, hockey in Woodbury. Most practices and many home games will be played outside of Woodbury'. Please make payment to Woodbury Hockey Association. Thank you for supporting hockey in Woodbury (or St.Paul, Cottage Grove, S.St.Paul or whatever city you seem to be spending most your hockey time and money!) but please come back to Woodbury.
TM December 15, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I thought I heard that Bielenberg charges $210/hr for ice rental. Mariucci charges the same. Most expensive in the state? What's driving that? What's it going to be after the expansion is completed?
Kris Janisch December 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM
How much does Harding charge? I thought WHA rented a lot of hours there.


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