Jan. 22, 2007

Ice arena organizers ask Dassel to donate materials

Rob Swendra, arena organizers want to start construction before fund-raising is complete

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Rob Swendra of Cokato made a new proposal Tuesday to the Dassel City Council to get the Dassel Cokato Ice Arena project over its biggest hurdle, building the access and driveway from Highway 15.

The access and driveway pushes the cost of the project up to nearly $1.3 million.

Swendra proposed that the City of Dassel provide the materials, with the ice arena organizers and supporters will provide the labor, Howard Page and another firm will donate the rest the money and in-kind donations needed to make the arena a reality.

The project has about $672,000 in liquid assets so far, and more fund raising is planned for 2007, Swendra said.

“I’m really itching to get this going,” he added.

Originally, the arena organizers wanted to wait for the fund-raising to be complete before construction begins at the northwest corner of the Highway 15 and 12 intersection. That is changed now. Organizers want to start construction this spring and raise the rest of the funds at the same time, he said.

Swendra didn’t bring the feasibility report with him that was prepared by the city engineers, Bolton & Menk, so he couldn’t tell the council how much the materials would cost. Also, City Engineer Chuck DeWolf said at least some of the costs of materials have probably changed since the feasibility report was prepared.

“I’m willing to listen,” Mayor Ava Flachmeyer said, but won’t approve or disapprove of the proposal without knowing how much it costs, she added.

Council Member Bob Lalone suggested swapping parcels with Page, who is developing property in the same area, so the ice arena will be closer to the highway. That will save thousands of dollars, Lalone said.

Lalone also asked to see a drawing of the plan.

The council and Swendra will get back together with more information for the regular council meeting, Monday, Feb. 5. Swendra will show council members a drawing, how it will be open for expansion, and updated costs for materials. He wants a “yes or no” about his proposal then, Swendra added.

The council did agree to extend the contract, a developers’ agreement with Page, the city, and ice arena organizers, another year to Jan. 21, 2008.

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