PARK CITY, Utah – The Park City Ice Arena at Quinn’s Junction was in a unique situation over the last 13 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. As an indoor facility, the arena was subject to strict health guidelines many of the other recreation options in Park City were not. Despite the challenges, the arena has soldiered on and now is looking ahead to a summer of facility upgrades.
Arena General Manager Amanda Angevine says although she’s hard pressed to think of an aspect of the arena that wasn’t affected by the pandemic, there were a number of success stories.
The Park City Ice Miners and High School hockey teams managed to pull off full seasons and ice time was largely booked throughout the year, although time on the rink was limited by public health orders.
“Basically, everything we did was altered in one way or another,” explains Angevine. “Limiting the capacity size, moving to online registration, suspending some activities. We were really hard hit, but we have still been serving a lot of the local population. The local hockey teams, they had full seasons and there were certainly weeks when they took pauses to be extra careful and we had pauses from the November public health order that were applicable to youth sports. There [were] a lot of ups and downs for everyone with the season, but we did have people on the ice all day.”
Looking ahead to the summer months, the arena will look to replace an aging dehumidifier as well as repaint and resurface the ice in August and September in preparation for a full winter of activities.
The dehumidifier is budgeted for roughly $300,000 and Angevine says repainting and resurfacing the ice will cost about $10,000 plus labor.
As part of a larger recreation bond in 2015 and in response to an increased need for more ice in Park City at the time, approximately $2.5 million was set aside by the Snyderville Basin Recreation District for a future expansion project at the ice arena.
However, Angevine says that a higher than expected project estimate in the neighborhood of $20 million, as well as community priorities shifting away from an expanded ice arena in the last five years, means plans to expand have been put on the back burner for the foreseeable future.
Another variable putting the brakes on an expansion in Park City is the expected construction of at least one sheet of ice in Wasatch County as part of the nearby Black Rock Mountain Resort on the north shore of the Jodanelle reservoir.
Basin Recreation’s Director, Dana Jones, told KPCW the District is currently looking into alternate options for the bond funds allocated for the ice rink. She added they are also in talks with the city to explore how to better support the arena’s current needs for yearly operating costs and upgrades.
“We are working with the city to determine what is needed,” said Jones. “Possibly increasing our contribution to the existing ice rink to make sure that there is the capacity for the need. Then we are looking at getting some legal advice on those bond funds to see what else we can possibly do with them to ensure that the recreation facilities that are most needed are provided with that funding.
Despite the current hold on any additional ice in Park City, Angevine adds that if demand takes off in the next several years — especially if the Olympics return to Utah in either 2030 or 2034 — the situation could very well change and an expansion of the arena might be back on the table.
“Now, certainly, if we hit the roaring 2020s and the community’s needs change and we see ice again as a high unmet need or we get the Olympics back in the area, things could certainly change where we look at expansion again, but we’re not putting resources towards that project right now,” she says.
The Park City Ice Arena’s repainting and resurfacing project will close the arena for approximately one month this summer. The project is currently scheduled to begin on August 2nd and be complete by early September.