HJ/EDMay 8, 2006

Scope of DC ice arena changed from sports/fitness center

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The vision of the Dassel Cokato sport/fitness center has changed to a covered ice arena with locker rooms and bathrooms.

Kelly Babekuhl told the Dassel City Council about the change last Monday. Previously, the $2.2 million project was planned to be a full health and wellness sports/fitness center that included an ice arena.

The organizers’ biggest challenge, though, is the $500,000 to $650,000 it will cost to engineer and construct the access to the property, Babekuhl said.

Babekuhl asked the city for help. The access road already platted into the development is not a direct line from Highway 12 or 15 to the site where the arena will be constructed, however. The access road winds around other parcels of Howard Page’s property, according to City Administrator Myles McGrath.

Usually, the developer pays for the road, not the city. The city is already committed to providing water and sewer mains to the arena only, and paying for the water/sewer service for the first five years, he said.

Mayor Ava Flachmeyer asked if the arena access could be paid for with tax increment financing. The ice arena isn’t a taxable development so it can’t get a TIF, McGrath responded.

The council concluded the access problem won’t be resolved without input from Page, who was out of town at the time of the meeting. The arena organizers, McGrath and the council will discuss with Page when he returns how the project can move to the next stage, McGrath said.

“We’ve worked on it so long I don’t want to see it go into the dumpster,” said one of the arena organizers, Steve Benda of Cokato.


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