Fogerty Curling Rink breaks ground in Blaine

The Fogerty Arena Board of Directors broke ground this week for a 28,100 square-foot, $3.7 million curling facility in Blaine’s Aquatore Park.

Past Olympians, public officials and business community representatives gathered yesterday (Thursday, May 31) on Aquatore Park Field No. 1 for the ceremonial event.

The six-lane Fogerty Curling Rink is scheduled for completion in mid to late November, said Mark Clasen, arena manager.

The building will cost approximately $2 million.

“We are about a month behind where we wanted to be,” Clasen said. “Local banks that had originally offered to finance the curling project backed out, forcing us to look elsewhere.”

The project also includes a restaurant and concession area, lounge and men’s and women’s locker rooms.

A new refrigeration system will cost about $1.2 million, Clasen said.

The 30-year old refrigeration system for the existing south ice rink will be replaced. A state-of-the-art system will chill the south rink and the curling rink.

“We’ve been working on this project for almost four years,” Clasen said. “This year-round facility will generate revenue and support our two original ice sheets.”

Fogerty Arena representatives were scheduled to meet Wednesday (May 30) with the city of Blaine to review the curling project construction schedule.

“We’ve applied for all of our permits and are going through the process right now,” Clasen said. “They [the city] has asked us for a little more documentation.”

According to Jim Kappelhoff, park and recreation director, the city needed additional signed documentation from Fogerty Arena regarding bank financing.

“We are going under the assumption it’s a done deal,” Kappelhoff said. “We definitely want financing documentation. The Field No. 1 lights come down first.”

Aquatore Park Field No. 1 is currently out of commission and will not be used for play this season.

In April, the Blaine City Council approved a $26,404 contract with with Plymouth-based SRF Consulting Group, Inc. for athletic field relocation work.

Field No. 1’s new location will be north of Field No. 2. Kappelhoff said the 48- to 50-foot high light poles near the softball field need to be removed so the curling arena construction can move forward.

“We’ll store the lights behind Field No. 2 at Aquatore Park,” he said. “It will take a couple of days to take the lights down. We have SRF on call to design the new field. We also have to put together bid documents. We have to grub the site out, level it off and grade it. We have to do soil borings to make sure peat depths are acceptable.”

Clasen said once the city takes down the field lights, earth will be moved for the new curling arena and footings will be poured.

“We’ll be using precast, tip-up concrete wall panels,” he said. “Those will start going in as soon as footings are finished. The wall panels are similar to those used in our north rink. It’s a design-build project.”

Since the normal winter curling season starts in mid to late October, Clasen said the Fogerty Curling Arena will run an abbreviated first season once it opens.

“Finding new sources of revenue to support our current facility is driving this project,” Clasen said. “There are too many kids who are dropping out of hockey because they can’t afford it anymore. We have to find a way to turn that around and keep costs low. This project brings a huge financial boost to our facility.”

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]