Results of an online survey indicate there is public support for building a new indoor sports facility to replace the Janesville Ice Arena, but questions remain over its design, location and financing.
Bill Krueger, a consultant from Convention, Sports & Leisure International who has led the Janesville feasibility study, gave a lengthy presentation Monday night to the city council. The existing city-owned arena is “clearly starting to show its age,” he said.
Primary tenants, in terms of hours spent at the facility, include Janesville Youth Hockey, the Janesville Figure Skating Club and the Janesville Jets.
Krueger had previously hosted two public listening sessions in August about the project. The consulting firm launched an online survey last fall.
Two possible options for a new facility would each include one permanent ice rink, one part-time ice rink and a walking track. The part-time rink could be drained in summer and used as a multipurpose space for basketball, volleyball or other sports, he said.
The base version of that plan is estimated to cost $23.9 million. Adding an indoor playground and more flexible space for non-ice sports would bring the cost to roughly $29.2 million, Krueger said.
Those price tags are comparable to similar facilities being constructed in the Fox Valley region and outside Des Moines, Iowa, Krueger said.
A new arena could boost Janesville’s profile for youth sports tournaments. Depending on its size, one could generate between $14 million and $17 million of annual economic impact, he said.
Two general location possibilities emerged during Krueger’s research: near downtown or near the transportation corridor on the city’s northeast side. He said it’s too early to zero in on specific sites.
As for financing, it will likely take some form of public-private partnership to make it happen. The city could sell naming rights to the building to defray costs, he said.
Neighborhood and Community Services Director Jennifer Petruzzello said her department and the consulting firm would spend the next few months doing more research on funding options and locations. In April, they would share those findings with the council and ask for authorization to enter the design phase.
Once that finishes, the council would have to approve a financing and construction plan. Construction would likely not start until 2020, she said.
The existing ice arena could then be sold or demolished, she said.