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Editorial: Residents can help address ice needs

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The Rosemount Area Hockey Association’s recent push for a second sheet of indoor ice is nothing new. As cities like Rosemount and Farmington grow, so do their hockey programs. And while there are numerous places for other sports to play — every school in the city has a gym for basketball, after all — ice rinks pose a bigger problem if teams want to play inside.

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For all the demand that seems to exist — and we hear over and over about teams traveling across the county to practice at all hours of the day and night — ice arenas don’t tend to turn a profit. If they did, there would be a lot more of them run by private individuals and fewer run by cities.

So, while there seems to be a pretty clear need for expanded arena offerings, building one simply isn’t a priority for the city of Rosemount, or really any city.

It makes sense. Because while there is a push for the rinks by hockey families, it is still a limited portion of the population that truly takes advantage of an ice arena. And even then arenas often sit unused for much of the summer as kids move on to other sports.

A splash pad like the one moving quickly through the planning process in Rosemount, on the other hand, is an amenity open to anyone.

There is talk in Farmington of expanding Schmitz-Maki Arena, but that project is being driven by a group of private residents who have taken it upon themselves, with support from the city and Farmington schools, to raise money for the project. That in many ways is also what happened with the construction of the Irish Sports Dome. A group of residents approached the school district and offered to build the facility and donate time there to high school teams if the district provided the land they needed.

That seems to be way to go. If there truly is a demand for more arena space, then perhaps there are some residents willing to step up and help fill it.

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