by Duluth News Tribune
February 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm in Duluth News Tribune
Mayor Don Ness said Thursday he plans to push for “strong consideration” of his idea to move the Congdon Park ice rinks up Hawthorne Road to the field at Ordean East Middle School.
Tags: Duluth, money 23 Comments »
So I think the message from the school district and the mayor is finally coming into focus …
They are willing to let the hockey association continue to operate ice rinks on school property, but neither the school district nor the city will provide all the money required to make that happen. So they are saying to the hockey association, if you really want to continue to use our land rent-free and have us pay your electric and water bills, then you need to put up some money to pay for the facilities to make this happen.
The hockey association is saying they won’t or can’t do that. Instead, they want to continue to use Congdon “as is” and thereby require the school district to buy and demolish five homes for a parking lot, and to give up on the idea of green space with natural grass at the school. There are big costs associated with buying and demolishing homes, and the cost of not having natural grass at the school is high in terms of play options for kids at recess.
If the hockey association can’t raise the money (and they probably can’t, that’s true) then it’s time to move on to another lower-cost arrangement, maybe joining forces with an existing rink like Portman or Glen Avon. It’s not reasonable to expect the school district to buy and demolish houses so they can save the rinks, and it’s not reasonable to expect an elementary school to get buy without any decent green space (with natural grass). And it’s also not reasonable to expect the school or the city to put in a lot of money for an ice rink at any school, since ice rinks just aren’t required to run an elementary or middle school.
So…I think it’s time to move on. I’m 100 per cent certain that every child who wants to play hockey or ice skate will be able to do that even if the Congdon rinks consolidate with an existing rink. Give the community a break here ice rink folks – staying at Congdon or moving to Ordean is expensive and really not all that necessary.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 52 12
I think it would be a good idea if everyone who has a ‘good suggestion’ to resolve this issue, first drive out to the Condon School area aqnd get out of your SUV or Prius and walk around the property and survey the landscape. Notice the 100′ by 300′ area on the westside of the school which can easily hold 61 parking spots. This solution hasn’t been given any ‘air-time’, maybe it is just too obvious. Relocate part or all parking to spot, build the access/drop-off behind the school as planned and leave the warming shack & rinks where there are now. OK, now shot holes in that idea.
Hot debate. What do you think? 14 21
Do you mean that narrow strip of land between the school and Hawthorne St? The one with the steep grade and the creek going down the middle of it? Is that the “lot” you are thinking of?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 21 6
Yes, it sounds like you did look. Yes, it isn’t as ‘narrow’ as it appears. There is a creek in a culvert coming under Superioor street, if the culvert under Superion street is allowed, why not continue it through the Congdon School property? (this is the same situation we have with the Chester Creek running under Superior Street next to the old Wahlgreens at 11th, it then goes under NBC bank and the Duluth Armory and then under London Road.) The property to which I refer is on the Hawthorne Road side of the School building. It doesn’t require using every square inch of the property 50′ by 200′ will make a good size parking lot from the 100′ by 300′ available. Yes, a small retaining wall along the West side would be required, they come at a reasonable cost (check out the West-side retaining wall at the new Kenwood Wahlgreens to get an idea on how it will look.) Culverts are easily installed these days with the advancements technology and equipement.
Like or Dislike: 8 10
I took another look this afternoon, the afore mentioned ‘creek’ runs directly under part ot the school building now, if it’s ok to run the creek under the school, why can’t it run under the parking lot. There is even more room there than I first thought. With my experience designing & building tennis courts I’ve concluded this is a very “doable” choice for adding additional parking spaces at a minimal cost, I don’t even expect a commission for my input!
Like or Dislike: 5 8
So that is the idea? Just keep paving over our natural beauty so that children can skate on some ice 3 months a year?
Like or Dislike: 6 3
Ok hockey association, put or shut down. Your activity is not a part of the curriculum so it should be paid for by the users, NOT the taxpayers. So pay…..and move on.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 22 4
I agree Duluthian. It is not not to force people out of their homes for an ice rink. And it is not fair to west Duluth school’s and sports program either, do they get a rink and olympic size pool on sight.
Hot debate. What do you think? 23 13
I want to address you pools comment. The Minnesota Department of Education mandates that swimming is part of the PE curriculum at the middle school level. They also describe adequate facilities. The pool doesn’t have to be on site, but the aquatic PE is mandatory. There are physical requirements for the size of the pool that define what is acceptable.
The MDE requires that a pool be at least six lanes in size. Both the eastern and western middle schools will have pools. This is essentially mandated by law since bussing the kids to the Y would end up costing much more money over time.
At the same time, the rules for pools that can be used for competitive swim meets require a pool that is at least eight lanes wide. So if the Duluth swim team wants to host an event, they need an eight lane pool. Currently the only pool in Duluth that meets that guideline is at Morgan Park, but it’s actually been boycotted by other schools because of the layout and lighting. There are currently no swim meets held in Duluth and the teams have to leave the area to compete.
As part of the LRFP six lane pools were required at eastern and western of the middle schools. There’s no cost effective way around that. The cost of the six lane pools was always in the plan.
About a year ago the board looked at the extra cost of adding two lanes to the pool which would allow them to be used for swim meets. As I recall, the marginal cost was about $200,000 per pool.
Gary Glass and Art Johnston did not think this was a good use of the construction money.
From my perspective, looking at a 40 year lifespan for those pools, it amortizes to about $5000 a year per pool so that the Duluth swim teams can participate in and host swimming events.
That’s why I support the upgrade from six lane to eight lane pools.
Like or Dislike: 10 19
So they are both 8 lane pools Doug?
Like or Dislike: 10 1
Like or Dislike: 3 9
To clarify…are you saying the pools at Lincoln and Ordean will be the exact same size & same facilities? This is different then I had heard before.
Like or Dislike: 6 0
What the board voted for last summer was to put 8 lane pools in both middle schools. Exact same facilities I doubt. The eastern site requires that the pool be fit into the existing structure which puts the pool locker rooms a bit out of the way. I expect that the western site, being designed from the ground up with the pool whereever it is will be better integrated.
Like or Dislike: 2 5
The west side of the school has a creek running through it. It has an outdoor classroom dedicated to a student who died in a horrific car accident at age 6. Her parents and others helped to create this unique space which is used by the students and staff. Building updates before warming shacks, grass before artificle turf, education before hockey and skating. The mayor should anti up some more parks and rec money since he got his levy passed and the district did not. You want a successful city to draw business and increase population, then public schools need to be the best. People who have children visit and look at schools before they visit parks when making a decision about moving to a community. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill, this is it.
Hot debate. What do you think? 20 13
There was a stadium on the campus of the U of M in Minneapolis dedicated to the memory of the men who fought and died in WWI. That was torn down without blinking an eye.
I think we could find a new place for a garden in the little girl’s memory if it means saving a wonderful tradition and $300,000.
Like or Dislike: 12 13
Why does anyone other than those who live there think this is a good idea. Using tax payers money from thier ice rink. That is NOT a city park! So why should we fund it?Ness really that’s the best you could come up with? How about pointing all the other open rinks that could be used. Stop building and update update update!!!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 24 8
Mayor, the Track is no longer there. Putting Ice Sheets and Boards on the Turf would destroy it.
Like or Dislike: 12 3
I find it interesting that the city is willing to give Congdon $100,000 dollars for their skating rink when just not too long ago, they were considering closing Piedmont Heights. I’m sure when the citizens of Duluth voted for the parks and rec levy, they didn’t have something like this in mind.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 28 3
I don’t know what the solution here is, I like moving the rinks to Ordean East, but I know there is a great expense. Congdon Park has a long standing tradition of hockey on school grounds and it would be nice to find a way to retain that. I don’t know how without the community coming up with the money.
I will say this, regardless of where they go, those rinks NEED to be replaced. The vast majority of elementary age children playing hockey do so outdoors and if you go to any rink on any given night you will find an obvious shortage of ice for the kids, let alone community members. Lower Chester having ice again is a nice boost, but the city is short of ice rinks, both pleasure and hockey.
Like or Dislike: 7 11
Duluth has a historic tradition of working with the city and the schools to create great rinks. But in the end, for the last 70 years it’s been local residents who stepped up, donated their time and money to build and maintain these rinks. Over the years, I’ve personally flooded at Portman, Woodland, Glen Avon, Duluth Heights and Congdon. I helped build the boards at Glen Avon and may have had some part of the recent recent re-roofing of the warming shack.
I will be happy to donate my time, tools and knowledge to rebuilding the Congdon rinks. I will not be willing to put the rinks before the school though.
Like or Dislike: 3 6
This is so typical of the eastern Duluth hockey attitude, making others pay for your facilities. In general, eastern families have a larger “disposable” income than western families. So why aren’t they using those monies to fund rink improvements that will largely only benefit people in their own neighborhood?
Since when does the City of Duluth spend $3333.33 on a single child?
Really Don? The City would actually think of spending a $1,000,000
on 300 kids, so that they can skate on some ice?? That is just another
example of how the sports minded residents are willing to spend money
that should be spent on infrastructural on sports facilities…..
Like or Dislike: 8 2
Do they use this garden in the winter? How about making it a dual use area? Or how about building the school addition across the street where they wanted to put the rink and leave the rink where it is?
Like or Dislike: 2 3
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