07242017
7-Day Forecast | Currently in Provo

Provo mulling fate of Peaks Ice Arena

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Provo’s city council is trying to decide if it will take over Utah County’s portion to fund the Peaks Ice Arena.

Utah County and Provo together have owned and operated the Peaks Ice Arena — built for the 2002 Olympics — since 2008, when they took over operation from a private company. Since then, the annual subsidy has consistently gone down while revenue and usage has increased. But last month Utah County decided it wanted out. So now Provo’s city council is trying to decide what to do.

Provo has two options: buy the county’s ownership or let the Ice Sheet Authority (the partnership) dissolve and the facility be sold. If Provo decides to buy out the county, the two will have to work out a price and close on the purchase within 180 days. On the other hand, if the ISA is dissolved and not sold within one year, then it would be sold at auction to the highest bidder.

This year, Provo and Utah County each contributed $170,000 to the ISA operation. The proposed subsidy for the 2017-18 fiscal year is $168,500. Compare that to the subsidy for the Ice Oval in Kearns, which is $1.5 million, said Scott Henderson, Provo’s recreation director.

Peaks Ice Arena by the numbers:

  • 78 percent of people who rent the arena for groups or birthday parties aren’t Provo residents.
  • 63 percent of people who pay for private ice rentals aren’t Provo residents.
  • 80 percent of the Polar Bears (youth hockey players) aren’t Provo residents.
  • 71 percent of the people who pay for turf rentals aren’t Provo residents.
  • 88 percent of the arena’s frequent ice users (there at least weekly) aren’t Provo residents.
  • 93 percent of the arena’s frequent turf users aren’t Provo residents.

Overall, the ice arena has been a success story since 2009, he said. “In a lot of ways it’s really amazing.”

About 350,000 people use the arena every year.

The problem with Provo taking over the arena is that only about 25 percent of its users are Provo residents. The rest come from other areas of Utah County or the state.

“We have a lot of use from people outside of Provo,” said Jake Drzayich, the arena’s general manager.

The numbers:

  • 78 percent of people who rent the arena for groups or birthday parties aren’t Provo residents.
  • 63 percent of people who pay for private ice rentals aren’t Provo residents.
  • 80 percent of the Polar Bears (youth hockey players) aren’t Provo residents.
  • 71 percent of the people who pay for turf rentals aren’t Provo residents.
  • 88 percent of the arena’s frequent ice users (there at least weekly) aren’t Provo residents.
  • 93 percent of the arena’s frequent turf users aren’t Provo residents.

Some council members are wondering if it’s fair to Provo residents to be involved in the ice arena at all. They’re double paying for it as Utah County residents and Provo residents, and not many are using it.

“When you start looking at the numbers you have to wonder if we’re getting the raw end of the deal here,” said Councilwoman Kim Santiago.

Councilman Kay Van Buren asked about increasing rates for non-Provo residents if Provo keeps the arena. Non-Provo residents pay more to use the city’s rec center.

On the other hand, with the ice rink the city has an Olympic venue that attracts people to Provo, Henderson said. And the state is preparing another Olympic bid.

Unless county commissioners change their minds, Provo must make a decision on the arena by May 22.

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2 Responses to "Provo mulling fate of Peaks Ice Arena"

  1. Debbie says:

    This would be a real loss for the people of Utah County. Especially those on the south side who are farther from facilities in SLCouny. There are many youth and youth programs at the Peaks that serve Utah County citizens. BYU Hockey and UVU Hockey use the arena. I’m puzzled why the county commissioners would be so quick to give up such a facility for such a small amount. I’m sure they spend way more on other recreational pursuits around the valley. As the mother of a former hockey player and the grandmother of a budding hockey player (from Provo) this makes be really sad and disappointed.

  2. Chloe lawson says:

    The ice rink has saved my life in many way. I have done things in my life and when I go to the rink it just makes all my problems seem possible to overcome. Provo would be luck y to own that rink. It would be an honor to be a part of that community that saved the livelyhood of many people. Many hockey skaters will need to find a new rink and figure skaters such as myself will need to travel farther to find a rink. I don’t see how that’s fair. The rink is a home. The rink is a safe place where people feel like they can come from all over and have fun it would be a privilege to have provo be apart of that bo matter the percentages and statistics because what really matters is the small thing, the memories, the friendships that were made or strengthened there. I love the rink and will go down fighting for it.

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