The Yankton Ice Association is celebrating a major milestone. Nine years after building Yankton’s only indoor ice rink, the Ice Assoc. is paying off the mortgage on the facility, and looking forward to new opportunities.
It’s been a long road to get to this point.
“When we started this out more than one person laughed at us,” said Ice Assoc. member, John Lillivold.
Nearly a decade later, the Assoc. is celebrating.
“This came from determination of people not taking ‘no’ for an answer,” said Randy Eichacker, Ice Assoc. member.
Members of the Ice Assoc. are making the final payment on the 4-H Kiwanis Ice Rink.
“We had a loan of $450,000 and a couple hundred thousand, and the total amount we spent on this facility is around $750,000,” said Lillivold.
A majority of which came from private donors and members of the community.
“I’m just impressed with how people go and give their time and their money to make something like this,” said Eichacker.
“Anytime we can find a member who’s an electrician or a plumber, or whatever skill they have, a carpenter, we make good use of that. There’s a good deal more of in kind,” said Lillivold.
The rink may be paid off, but members of the Assoc. say there’s still work to be done.
“We have a lot of ideas what we’d like to do in the future here,” said Eichacker.
Members of the Assoc. say paying off the debt will give them a better opportunity to make improvements to the rink.
“The fact that we’ve paid off our mortgage doesn’t mean we’re done. That just means we can start thinking about our next Zamboni, or when we replace these boards,” said Lillivold.
They hope to also give those who use the rink something to look forward to.
“This is not the fanciest facility out there, but at least we have a sheet of ice and the kids have a place to come play some ice activities,” said Eichacker.
“This has gained a life of its own, and for me personally I’m glad to see that it’s done that. I’ll let the people involved decide the direction it goes in the future,” said Lillivold.
The Ice Assoc. is celebrating paying off the mortgage with a short ceremony and free skating party on Sat., Mar. 15.
In an effort to continue promoting activities for area youth, two organizations are teaming up to cook up some funds.
The Yankton County 4-H and the Yankton Area Ice Association, in partnership with Schwan’s Home Services, are currently attempting to raise approximately $25,000 to rebuild the outdated kitchen facility at the Kiwanis 4-H Ice Arena.
“It’s very important that both hockey and 4-H be able to use that kitchen,” said Ryan List, president of the Yankton County 4-H Leaders Association. “It’s a big part of both associations.”
The Yankton County 4-H and the Yankton Area Ice Association both rely on sales from the concession stand and soup kitchen events to fund their programs and to provide opportunities for their participants, said Julie Perakslis, Yankton Area Ice Association board member.
“It takes a lot to maintain the building, and the concessions really help us keep our costs down for registration,” she said. “We’re really proud that we’re one of the cheapest hockey rinks around — probably in the country.”
Both organizations share the facility, Perakslis said, with the ice association using the building in the winter and 4-H occupying it in the summer. Last year, the Yankton County 4-H approached the ice association about renovating the kitchen so that it would meet quality standards and allow the two organizations to continue using the facility to raise funds, she said.
“We split the space, so we are happy to help them fundraise for it,” Perakslis said. “We have a great partnership with them, and we hope we can get enough money to get this done.”
To participate in the fundraiser, consumers can order from Schwan’s Home Delivery through Schwans-Cares.com. Through Jan. 19, Schwan’s will contribute 20 percent of product and 40 percent of e-certificate sales to the Yankton organizations. Additionally, Schwan’s will contribute 5 percent of all orders to the organizations for the rest of the year.
List said the renovation will begin once the funds are secured and should take approximately six weeks to complete.
“We’re hoping to start sometime this summer so that we can get it done in that window between when the ice association is done and before Achievement Days begins in August. That’s our goal,” he said.
For more information on the fundraiser, visit www.yanktonice.org and click on the Schwan’s logo in the image box on the front page, or visit Schwans-cares.org and enter Yankton Area Ice into the search box.
“Our programs support so many kids, and the use of the kitchen supports those programs. By participating in this fundraiser, people are directly supporting these kids,” Perakslis said. “And I don’t think you can overstate the value of investing in youth.”