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RACINE COUNTY — A $13 million proposed ice rink at Franksville Park will have its first reading before the full Racine County Board on Tuesday, June 13, during its regularly scheduled 6:30 p.m. meeting at Ives Grove, 14200 Washington Avenue.

Parliamentary procedures dictate that after an item passes a particular committee and heads to the full board for consideration that it has two readings. During the first reading, county supervisors discuss the topic without voting on it. The second reading is on June 27, when board members will cast their votes.

The rink idea has been in development for a number of years led by the Racine County Ice Center (RCIC) grassroots organization that includes Dave Blank, formerly of Real Racine; Jeff Collen, former Racine YMCA Executive Director; Jim Dobbs, former Caledonia Village President; and Mark Hertzberg, former photojournalist at The Journal Times.

ice rink
Figure skating is a well-loved sport, both for recreation and competition. – Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

Hertzberg said the ice facility is something Racine County has needed for a number of years.

“My kids played hockey, but we had to go outside of Racine for them to do so,” he said.

“Ice sports and recreation are popular here, so this is a quality-of-life issue that could have a positive impact on folks moving to Racine.”

Curling has gained popularity in recent years. – Credit: Antoni Shkraba / Pexels

RCIC has a memorandum of understanding with the county for a $13 million single-sheet facility, or a single rink, with the infrastructure to support additional rinks as finances allow. Racine County will bond, or borrow, $5 million for the project. Another $5 million has been donated anonymously, and Hertzberg said the RCIC committee has until October 2024 to raise the additional $3 million before construction can begin.

An architect has not been retained, pending the outcome of the June 27 vote.

Ice rink supported by county residents

The RCIC group commissioned an $80,000 feasibility study that shows an ice facility is something Racine County residents support.

“We need amenities to attract families who want to live, work and play here,” Hertzberg added. “Not only can local groups and leagues use the rink, but we can host competitions, too, to help pay for maintenance, staff and expansion.”

Ice skating has been popular in Racine at various locations including Monument Square, Johnson Park, and even at Festival Hall, but typically only in the winter, weather permitting. The RCIC facility would be open year-round.