For decades, several young athletes would take turns practicing and playing games on two sheets of ice in Sioux Falls. While the popularity of hockey and figure skating continues to grow, officials from the Ice Sports Association say they are in need of an increase supply to meet the demand that exists today.
"The reality is, is that we wouldn't have a demand and a need for three replacement sheets if it wasn't for what some very early committed parents and local community organizers did when they built the original Minnehaha Ice and Rec center back in the late 70s and early 80s," Organizer of Ice Sports Association Joe Zueger said.
But the concept of building an $8 to $10 million community asset is a steep hill to climb and a big challenge for a parent-led user group. That's when the Ice Sports Association stepped in to help make that dream become a reality.
"It's just chapter two, leg two of the journey. We're happy to take the baton and advance 30, 40, 50 more years and we'll see where it goes from there," Zueger said.
Their big objective is to be a three-sheet operator. They'll also have the flexibility to leave the ice in and they say a lot of other facilities don't have that option.
Zueger says this goal would not have been possible without their volunteers who have been out pounding the pavement and raising the money, along with the help of several contributors.
"From six-figure private donors, to the business community, to the city of Sioux Falls and of course Scheels and Sanford Health for providing the land the list goes on and of people we have to thank for this project but it's all happening because everybody came together and believed in the vision and is making it a reality," Executive Director of Ice Sports Association Sue Salter said.
"The ground breaking, how excited we are for that, I suppose on a scale of one to ten, it would be about a 14," Zueger said. "We have made great momentum. We have made great strides and we have tried to educate people on where we are at but I think a project like this, which has been failure to launch project for the number of decades, there's still this element I need to pinch myself because I can't really believe the day is here."