(This report comes from Pierce County)
More than 400 skaters of all ages and abilities tried out Sprinker Recreation Center's new-and-improved ice rink on Jan. 28, which opened to the public after an eight-month renovation.
County Executive Pat McCarthy cut the ribbon by driving the Zamboni ice resurfacer through it, heralding the start of a new era at the 35-year-old rink, which was threatened with closure in 2010.
"This rink has been a great resource for recreation and exercise for hundreds of thousands of people over the years. Groups like the Lakewood Winter Club and Friends of Sprinker made it clear they wanted us to find a way to solve this problem," McCarthy said. "I'm really proud of my team for zeroing in on the priority needs, and then identifying existing funding to pay for it. I appreciate that the County Council approved this cost-effective, common sense solution."
Councilmember Dick Muri (District 6) noted that the $6.5 million renovation includes a new roof, rink and refrigeration equipment, heating system, dehumidifying system and lighting. "Much of the funding comes from the county's real estate excise tax that's dedicated to parks. There are no new taxes involved," Muri said.
Added Councilmember Rick Talbert (District 5): "This project is a major step toward extending the building's lifespan by decades. We know the work is not done. We will keep looking for opportunities to upgrade other parts of this facility, which is the lynchpin of the Pierce County parks system."
Other dignitaries at the opening ceremony included Council Chair Joyce McDonald (District 2), Councilmember Tim Farrell (District 4) and Ben Agosto, who won the silver medal in ice dancing with longtime partner Tanith Belbin at the 2006 Olympics. It was the United States' first Olympic medal in ice dancing in 30 years. Agosto, who now lives in Lacey, told the crowd he grew up skating at a community rink like Sprinker.
The ice rink is part of a large complex at Sprinker Recreation Center that includes indoor tennis and racquetball courts as well as ballfields, a skateboard park, meeting rooms and more. The rink is scheduled to host an ice show called "Reflections on Ice - Celebration, The Next Generation." This professionally choreographed figure skating show by the Lakewood Winter Club will be held Feb. 10-12. Tickets and information are available here.