Local News

H-F Park Board taking second look at H-F Ice Arena expenses

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District commissioners have decided to update the 2019 estimated costs on needed repairs for the H-F Ice Arena.

The discussion at the park board’s meeting on Monday, Aug. 2, followed a review of the district’s bonding power by Aaron Gold of Speer Financial, Inc. He offered suggestions on how the district can reduce its interest payments on two outstanding bond issues by refinancing the debt at a lower rate from the 4% and 5% the district is paying. Borrowing is now at 2.5%. A change would also give the park district additional borrowing power, should it be needed for ice arena repairs.

“I don’t think this is the idea of kicking the can down the road. I think it’s understanding what we need to do in that facility to keep it operational. We can try and find funding sources, but I do think there’s other things. We owe it to ourselves to do a bit more to explore the reality,” Commissioner Steve Johnson said.  

The H-F Ice Arena, at 777 Kedzie Ave. in Flossmoor, is nearly 50 years old. It is in need of a new roof and its operating system for making ice is obsolete. The park district is using the R-22 coolant that is believed to be one of the substances causing depletion of the ozone layer. It is getting more difficult for the park district to find a supply of R-22, commonly known as Freon.

The first look at improvements was in 2017. The estimate was about $1 million. In 2019, the park district hired Wight & Co. for preliminary engineering services and conceptual design work. The firm came back with a $3 million estimate for mechanicals of the refrigeration system and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning mechanicals because the current HVAC system runs through the refrigeration system being replaced. 

The mechanicals for a new system are oversized and will need to be housed in an addition onto the ice arena.

Wight also priced as add-on a new roof and new floor slabs, a new dehumidification system, new dasher boards/glass and new lighting. 

Wight helped the park district prepare paperwork for a state grant to cover a portion of the costs. Unfortunately, the district was notified that it didn’t get selected. But another park district’s ice arena project did get funding, which gives H-F park commissioners hope that the ice arena project may get a second look if it reapplies.

However, Debbie Kopas, parks executive director, said she doesn’t know when the grant will be offered again. Commissioners decided to go ahead with asking Wight & Co. to update its review of the project so that they have a current estimate and those numbers can be used on a future grant application.

Park commissioners will look for outside funding sources, including offering naming rights.

They also agreed that spending millions on the improvements should include updating the facility for patrons as well. The park district has made some changes, but they agreed that noticeable changes in locker rooms, etc.  should be part of the larger remodeling project.

Kopas said the projected timetable for a large scale remodeling project shouldn’t impact hockey season. The original work timeline was about six months, from March until sometime in September. 

News by email

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Free weekly newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Most read stories this week