Local News

Park board finalizes bond sale for ice arena work 

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District finalized the sale of $5.5 million in general obligation bonds to fund the work at the H-F Ice Arena.

At a special meeting on Tuesday, May 24, the commissioners authorized the sale of the 25-year bonds to Capitol One Public Funding LLC with an interest rate of 3.84%.

“Due to the current market conditions and the extremely volatile bond market, this issue was a private placement, saving the park district approximately $1 million over the life of the issue, or $40,000 per year, compared to traditional bond rates near 5% that financial advisors are seeing in today’s market,” Debbie Kopas, park district executive director, told the Chronicle.

“It is unfortunate that the ice arena repair project happened at the same time as this unpredictable bond market that is extremely disadvantageous for issuing debt,” she added.

The park board worked with Speer Financial and Northland Securities on the bond sale. Kopas said initially the board expected to go into the bond market, but she appreciated the advice from these advisors; their efforts helped save the district additional expense.

The park board was forced to shut down the ice arena in November after its refrigeration system failed. The park board knew it was going to need to replace the system but anticipated it could keep the system running for another year or two hoping the park district could get state funding for part of the cost. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the expenses for repair have made it necessary to borrow the funds.

Parks crew members removed the old piping, and on March 29 commissioners approved a $2.9 million contract with American Arena for a new refrigerant system. November 2022 is the target date for reopening the ice arena. 

The park district hired Williams Architects of Itasca as the architecture firm that is designing the new rink and equipment building. The refrigerant system can’t fit into the ice arena building like the old system did. This requires the park district to construct a new building to house the equipment outside of the ice arena at 777 Kedzie Ave. in Flossmoor.

The board is also working with W.B. Olson as the construction manager for the project.

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