September 23, 2011 in Idaho

Ice arena: Welcome to the new Frontier

Kootenai Youth Recreation Organization gets $175,000 from communications firm for rebuilding ice arena
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Kathy Plonka photoBuy this photo

Dan McCarthy, left, Michael Towne and Rhonda Lutzke of Frontier Communications donned hockey jerseys in preparation for the official groundbreaking for KYRO (Kootenai Youth Recreation Organization) Ice Rink in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. Frontier Communications announced a major donation towards the completion of the rink.
(Full-size photo)

How to help

A fundraiser for Kootenai Youth Recreation Organization, including a barbecue, tours and children’s activities, will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Frontier Ice Arena, 3525 W. Seltice Way in Coeur d’Alene. For more information, visit www.kyro.org or call (208) 765-4423.

A nonprofit ice arena in Coeur d’Alene that has been rebuilding since a 2008 roof collapse received a major boost Thursday when Frontier Communications announced a seven-year, $175,000 contribution.

As a result, the Kootenai Youth Recreation Organization ice arena on West Seltice Way will be renamed Frontier Ice Arena. The Fortune 500 company provides communication services in rural America and acquired much of Verizon’s landline operations in 2010. The agreement calls for the company to donate $25,000 per year for seven years, Daniel McCarthy, Frontier’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, announced at a Thursday news conference.

“We believe that this facility will not only provide a great opportunity for recreation and families … but also will be an economic boost,” said McCarthy, who happened to be in Coeur d’Alene to meet employees. “So we’re delighted and happy to be a partner for the long term.”

Following the December 2008 roof collapse, KYRO received a $2 million insurance settlement and launched an effort to rebuild a much-expanded ice arena. The organization has raised about $400,000 but still needs another $400,000 to complete the project. About $135,000 is needed to finish enough of the arena to open this winter for hockey season, said Vince Hughes, KYRO president, who said he hoped to open by Thanksgiving.

Leagues began enrolling players about two weeks ago and practices are due to start next month, said Matt Beam, KYRO manager. League play is due to start in November, he said.

Beam said the Frontier donation will help enormously with credibility. He said he hopes it encourages other corporate sponsors to step forward to help close the remaining funding gap. “The collapse has really injected us back into this community,” Beam said. “The community awareness has increased dramatically.”

During an average week, KYRO hosts 2,000 athletes and spectators, including 20 youth hockey practices, five physical education classes from local high schools, eight adult hockey games, 13 youth hockey games, two figure-skating sessions, three public skate sessions, three birthday or business parties and a church or youth group for broomball. About 250 people enroll annually in learn-to-skate programs.

Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., is contributing $230,000 for improvements to Seltice Way, along with a new Centennial Trail trail head and 30 of the arena’s 130 parking spaces, said Tony Berns, LCDC executive director.

While KYRO has been rebuilding, other regional rinks have tried to help provide ice time to the leagues that use the Coeur d’Alene arena. Those included the Eagles Ice-A-Rena in Spokane and rinks at Eastern Washington University and Riverfront Park.

KYRO’s 34,000-square-foot complex will offer an NHL regulation-size rink – 200 feet by 85 feet – and has room for a second sheet of ice as demand requires. It will feature a heated 200-seat spectator area complete with party rooms for special occasions. Other features include a concession stand, skate rental, kitchen, office space, paved parking lot and locker rooms.

The previous arena was 27,000 square feet with a 185-by-85-foot ice surface, no lobby, no meeting rooms and a gravel parking lot.


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