BoCo approves home base for Sandpoint Ice Arena

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Bonner County commissioners unanimously approved a lease agreement Oct. 26 between the Bonner County Fairgrounds and Sandpoint Community Center Corporation, paving the way for the nonprofit to utilize an empty parcel at the fairgrounds for the proposed Sandpoint Ice Arena.

“After many meetings between the Fair Board and this group, we feel that this particular parcel would be a great fit,” said Fair Director Darcey Smith, who noted that the project would not impact the county’s budget.

A rendering of how the ice arena might look after completion. Courtesy image.

The ice rink is an idea nearly two decades in the making, with the lease serving as a concrete step forward for the Sandpoint Community Center Corporation, featuring board members Dr. Robert Pierce of North Idaho Animal Hospital, Eric Paull of Washington Trust Bank and Schweitzer CEO Tom Chasse.

Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad commended the commissioners during public discussion for supporting the ice arena project.

“It’s been a long-time need in our community, and I think it’s going to be great for our residents to get some recreational opportunities indoors for the long winters here, and affordably so,” Rognstad said. “I’m here to say that I want to do whatever I can to support it on behalf of the city.”

That support will include a needed rezone in order for the project to move forward, as well as possible city funding.

Rognstad noted the local option tax, up for a vote on the Nov. 2 ballot, could create “a funding mechanism to be able to contribute to the project.”

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