JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Icemen hockey team is asking for the city’s help to renovate the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex.
It’s a move that Icemen President Bob Ohrablo says would build the sport and the area’s economy.
Ohrablo says the project would transform the complex from a one-sheet ice rink to a two-sheet rink. The facility would also house a sports bar along with other amenities.
Jacksonville City Council members will decide on a proposal that asks for up to $1 million in development completion grant funds as well as a $6.5 million loan. The 20-year loan would have an interest rate of 3%.
Ohrablo says the team has been raising money for the project as well.
“It’s really important we have the capabilities for a great practice center and really develop youth and adult hockey,” Ohrablo said. “It’s time to take the next step to make Jacksonville a true hockey town.”
With the renovations, the Icemen would have an official practice facility, but Ohrablo says this project will also benefit the city’s economy.
“There’s a lot of kids that want to play,” Ohrablo said. “Florida is a big state for youth hockey tournaments, but currently people are driving past Jacksonville because there is not a two-sheet ice rink.”
Bringing in the tournaments would cater to families coming in from other parts of the country. Ohrablo says those families would book hotels, eat in the city’s restaurants and enjoy the area’s shopping.
He added Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration sees the footprint the team has downtown while providing entertainment for 36 nights.
City Council members are expected to vote on the measure on March 23.