Public weighs in on proposed ice center in west county

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KPLR) – Filling the St. Louis County council chambers Wednesday night, hockey fans of all ages sharing their support for a newly proposed ice center in West County.

"We're only in the first period, but we're going to play a quick three periods" said Patrick Quinn with the St. Louis Legacy Ice Foundation.  "We'd like to have this facility open by August 2018.

The ice center would become the new home training facility for the St. Louis Blues, but that would only make up three percent of the center's usage.  It would be complete with four ice rinks, a strength and conditioning center and a 3,500-seat arena.  Those who support the ice center say it will be a mixed-use ice center for everyone.

"When you have four rinks under one roof, there's so much we can do with that" said hockey mom, player and fan, Ellen Sheffield Pace.  "We can begin to host tournaments; it'll primarily be used by youth hockey and ice sports.

Those speaking out against the center say they're not anti-ice, they're just anti-its location.  The ice center would be built on a section of Creve Coeur Park, park land owned and operated by the county.

"I think the win-win here would be to bring this facility to town, but to see it placed in a location that makes a little more sense" said Katherine Dockery with the Open Space Council in St. Louis.  "Something not in a floodplain, something that needs redevelopment, something that's not on public park land" she said.

"We understand the importance of protecting the things that we love to enjoy" said Quinn.  " We have a vested interest in doing this the right way" he said.

The ice center would be built and operated by the St. Louis Ice Legacy Foundation.  The land will remain park of the St. Louis County Parks system.  Quinn says, financially, this private public partnership is one of the only ways to make the ice center work.  He adds that given the timing of the closure of the Hardees' Iceplex in Chesterfield, the new ice center would fill a big void in the community.

The St. Louis Ice Legacy Foundation is still working to secure more donors and funding.  They hope to break ground in June and have the center open by fall of 2018.