ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – After it’s future was unknown for months, an aging stateline ice rink is set to get a major facelift.
Although construction will not start for another five months, park district administrators said that developers are already hard at work figuring out a modern design.
Developers behind the $6 million renovation of Riverview Ice House, 324 N Madison St, will meet with Rockford skaters to begin work on an updated design later this week. Local leaders said that it is the first step in breathing new life into the 45-year-old facility.
“It is important that our skating community, that is here six or seven days a week, 12 months a year, that they are a part of the process,” said Jay Sandine, the Executive Director of the Rockford Park District. “We think about maybe half of that $6 million is going towards renovating the refrigeration system, the mechanicals, the hockey boards, the glass [and] rooftop units. The other portion of that $6 million is really going to be aesthetics, and renovations of the locker rooms, and the bathrooms and the lobby. That is really that part that we want to get feedback from our community.”
One reason community members pushed to save Riverview is to make sure that skating is accessible to all kids in the “Forest City.” The park district announced a new initiative Tuesday to raise money for those who may not be able to keep up with associated costs.
“It is expensive to skate. There are a lot of barriers of entry for the kids in our community,” Sandine said. “Equipment is expensive, ice time is expensive and coaching is expensive. Lack of transportation is a real issue for our children here in town.”
The hope is the new-look rink will be more crowded than ever following the overhaul.
“We are going to have an opportunity for these kids to continue to grow, and maybe reach those dreams, but if they do not reach those dreams of playing in the NHL, they will make memories for a lifetime,” said Jordan Tuminaro, the President of the Rockford Hockey Club.
Sandine said that the redesign is expected to break ground in March 2022. That would keep the facility shut down for about six months, before reopening in the fall.