MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KMOX) – Leaders of the Legacy Ice Foundation Monday night took the wraps off Plan B for their ambitious, four-rink ice hockey complex.
That new location is approximately 1 mile to the north of a site in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park that the group had originally proposed for the ice sports complex.
That got bogged down with opposition from those who didn’t want to see 40 acres of a natural preserve bulldozed in favor of a gleaming steel and glass facility with hundreds of parking spaces.
Legacy Ice Foundation chair Patrick Quinn sounded as if he’s still frustrated with the National Park Service’s handling of their request, saying they politicized the process and issued what he considered to be prejudicial statements against the project.
“It made us lose, aleady, one year,” he said. “So we’re going to be moving very quickly to get this thing on track to open now for the 2019-2020 season.”
Financing for the 25-acre site, which will have the same sized footprint as it would have had at Creve Coeur Lake Park, remains largely unchanged until a prelimary partnership agreement unanimously adopted Monday night by the Maryland Heights City Council.
The city would own the ice sports complex and assist with the project’s financing, including an up-front investment of at least $6.5 million and the issuance of $39 million in bond financing.
The foundation would operate the facility and provide more than $24 million in funding and private contributions to the project.
The city would purchase the site, located beetween the Hollywood Casino & Hotel and the Hollywood Casino Ampitheater, and lease it to the foundation for 30 years with options to extend it for another 25 years.
The city and the foundation have applied for a total of $4 million in Missouri economic development tax credits to be used in the financing package.
The plan has the full support of Maryland Heights Mayor Mike Moeller.
“I think it’s going to put the region on the map,” he said after the meeting. “There’s nothing like this in the country, this many sheets of ice and this type of facility.”
With Monday night’s vote of the Maryland Heights council, city staff is now authorized to enter into negotiations with the foundation that could lead to a final agreement.
“We appreciate how Mayor Moeller and the city of Maryland Heights have stepped up to keep our project in the same general area as the previous site,” Quinn said. “Their leadership has created a viable solution to our needs while keeping this new development in St. Louis County.”
Flooding is not expected to be a concern, as the ice complex will be located in an area protected by a system of levees, pumping stations and a stormwater management system constructed just after the devastating 1993 flood.
It has not experienced flooding since then.
“The city recognizes the tremendous importance of this regional economic development opportunity,” Moeller said. “This public-private partnership will anchor our vision to transform this area into a valuable regional sports, entertainment and recreational attraction. This is a win-win situation.”
The four-sheet regional recreation center will be home for a variety of ice sports, amateur and college ice hockey uses, as well as serving as the new practice facility for the St. Louis Blues.
If the city reaches a final partnership agreement with the foundation, the timeline calls for construction of the project to be completed by September 2019.