Ice rink in Incline considered

Since 1994, the Incline Ice Foundation has raised funds to build a rink in Incline/Crystal Bay. On Tuesday, the group will find out if their goal can be realized - or if they have to start once more from scratch.

Members of the Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, an offshoot of TRPA formed to review interior remodel projects for the casinos on the Nevada side of the basin, will hear members of the Ice Foundation and Crystal Bay Club owner Roger Norman's plan to construct an ice rink and multi-use concert and event facility atop Norman's casino's parking garage.

Along with Norman, Ice Foundation spokesman Remsen Paul will speak in favor of the ice rink at the NTRPA meeting in Carson City.

Paul's daughters, both 13, go to South Shore or the Bay area "many, many times a month" to skate or play hockey for a club team. He is adamant that a rink will attract more than just North Shore visitors.

"The last rink closed in Reno last year so this is it," Paul said. "It would be tremendous to skate locally."

Incline Ice Foundation representatives said this is the best chance in five years they've had to make an area ice rink a reality.

"We've heard good things from individual (NTRPA) board members," said Incline Ice Foundation spokeswoman Janet Pahl. "It's just a matter of putting it all together."

The group has, over 10 years, come close to finalizing plans for the rink on several Incline Village General Improvement District sites. But "the deal always went south," Pahl said.

The NTRPA compact, which doesn't allow for casinos to increase gaming square footage, is the document in question with the latest ice rink plan.

Getting the ice rink alone may not be a problem, Pahl said. Indeed, the compact's restrictions are "... Intended only to limit gaming and related activities ... or construction designed to permit the enlargement of such activities and not to limit any other ruse of property zoned for commercial use or the accommodation of tourists, as approved by the agency."

However, NTRPA board members have balked in the past to the proposed other uses, and that, Norman said, could be the end of it.

"If we can't use (the ice rink) space as a viable year-round venue, the deal would be off the table completely," Norman said. "We have to spend about $650,000 to fix up the building. We already use it for mortocycle and car shows, but we see using it for larger events: The film festival, Shakespeare, the Reno Philharmonic, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, a cowboy poetry festival - it'll be all there for the public.

"And I do not - I repeat- I have no intentions of doing any gaming in those areas."

Norman said even if the NTRPA does decide in his and the Ice Foundation's favor, that only begins the process.

"Then we start the application and permit process," Norman said. "(NTRPA's) approval actually doesn't get us much further down the road. We could start the permit process, and it could still be a couple of winters."

If the rink does go up at the casino, the Ice Foundation has agreed to pay up to $250,000 to defray construction costs Norman said.

Along with materials to build the rink itself, the group owns a Zamboni, skates and other rink-related equipment.

"It's all in storage ready to go," Pahl said.

She added there has been no objection from the community to the proposal.

"The Normans have turned a blight into one of the highlights of the North Shore corridor," Pahl said. "They are doing a service to the community. The ice rink (would) only add to that."


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