Preliminary rendering of proposed ice rink facility that proponents are hoping to build in Enoch, Utah. | Image courtesy of KJ’s Ice Barn via Facebook, St. George News / Cedar City News
ENOCH — A year-round ice skating rink might finally be making its way to Southern Utah.
Kerry Fain, president of the nonprofit organization Southern Utah Youth and Enthusiasts Together for Ice, commonly known as Southern Utah YETI, said a group of investors is proposing to build a privately owned ice skating facility on a four-acre parcel in the northeast part of Enoch, just west of Interstate 15 and Old Highway 91.
If all goes according to the plan, Fain said the facility could be open to the public before the end of the year.
“Hopefully, December is what we’re shooting for,” she said, adding that the first winter of operation will likely have an abbreviated season for hockey and other youth programs.
The proposed facility’s design includes a full-size regulation ice hockey rink with fully equipped locker rooms and bathrooms, along with bleacher seating for up to 800 people.
A second building attached to the ice arena will house skate rentals, a party room, a gym, batting cages, pickleball courts, a concession stand and a pro shop with both new and used gear.
“We’re looking to have gear for all (ice) sports in there as well, because we really don’t have an equipment shop here in Iron County,” Fain said.
An outdoor skate park is also part of the tentative plans, she added.
Fain said one of the more attractive aspects of the project is that it is being paid for entirely with private funds, either via monetary donations or by in-kind contributions of materials and labor.
“All of it is from our contributors and local business owners that are helping out,” she said. “Everybody is extremely excited.”
Additionally, the facility is expected to become one of the city’s largest taxpayers, Fain said.
“Hopefully, that generates more revenue for Enoch, so they can put more into their current recreational facilities, to create a better environment and a higher quality of life for Enoch residents,” Fain said.
As previously reported in Cedar City News, a community ice rink operated seasonally at the Cedar City Aquatics Center for nearly a decade until it ceased operations in February 2020. That facility was managed first by YETI, then by Staheli Rec Management.
Then, the following winter, YETI, with the help and support of the Iron County Commission, was able to establish a temporary rink in a meadow near Woods Ranch, several miles up Cedar Canyon.
This time around, Fain says hopes that hockey, figure skating and other ice sports will finally be able to have a more permanent home in Iron County.
“I salute Staheli Rec for trying to do what they did and for working with Cedar City, and I’m really sorry that it fell apart,” Fain said. “But I think in the long run, this is something better, because the taxpayers aren’t footing any of the bill.”
The proposal is on the agenda for two upcoming meetings, starting with the Enoch City Planning Commission on April 12 at 5:30 pm, followed by the Enoch City Council on April 20 at 6 pm Both meetings are scheduled to take place at the Enoch City offices, at 900 E. Midvalley Road.
The parcel, currently zoned R-1-18 residential, would need to be changed to Community Commercial in order for the ice rink project to move forward.
Members of the public are invited to attend Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, which will include a presentation by the project’s proponents, along with time for questions and comments during a public hearing.
Fain said the ownership and operations will be handled by a collaboration of multiple entities. YETI will manage the youth sports programs, while a secondary nonprofit called Iron Ice will own the ice rink facility and the property. Additionally a for-profit enterprise called KJ’s Ice Barn will lease the use of the facility and handle things such as contracts, maintenance and commercial operations, including concessions.
Fain says the new ice rink will help meet a growing demand.
“It’s tough to find ice in Utah,” Fain said, adding that she believes there are just 17 ice sheet facilities statewide. “But ice sports are really on the rise.”
As far as addressing potential concerns about water use, Fain said the developers are working on a system that will recapture most of the water used for the Zamboni ice surfacing machine. She said Iron County Commissioner Paul Cozzens has been helping the group work up a plan to build the recapture basin.
Fain mentioned a couple more aspects that she believes help set the proposed venture apart.
“I think where we really have an edge is that everybody involved in this, they’re doing it for either the love of ice sports and the community, or for the kids. That’s our main goal.”
“And, we are looking to keep everything affordable,” she added.
“We’re setting up sponsorships and grants through our new nonprofit and through YETI and through the ice rink itself, KJ’s Ice Barn, so that any child that wants to play can play, so that money is not an issue,” she said. “It shouldn’t be an issue for fees, ice time, or equipment, because that’s really where it hits home for us. We’re all about the kids.”
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.