Youth hockey aids in ice arena project

Hockey players have hearts, too.

Just ask the Craig Youth Hockey Association whose players and supporters gave $20,425.34 to the Moffat County Board of Commissioners last week to help fund remodeling the ice rink at Loudy-Simpson Park. The association has pledged $30,000 for the rink project.

Youth hockey players in Craig raised the money through various fund-raising activities such as a bait sale, a Pizza Hut sponsored pizza sale where proceeds and tips went to youth hockey, concession stands and T-shirt sales.

"The deal was youth hockey would help pay for new equipment," Jeff Whilden, past treasurer for Craig Youth Hockey said. "This money is dedicated specifically for the refrigeration system (at the rink). It was really generated by the kids and parents played a big part, also."

The rink at Loudy-Simpson Park is being prepared for the installation of a refrigeration system. In past years, the rink did not have a refrigeration system, leaving the ice inconsistent during hockey season.

The floor will be prepared for the new system soon and it should be delivered in the first week of November and, according to Steve Grandbouche, Moffat County parks superintendent, the compressor to power the refrigeration system will be installed by Nov. 20. Once this is installed, the rink will be ready.

According to Debra Murray, Moffat County assistant to the commissioners, Craig Youth Hockey is an immense help to rink funding.

"Without the hockey organization, this (refrigerating the rink) wouldn't be possible," Murray said.

The cost of the project is about $306,500 and the majority of the money has come from donations, organizations and grants. A small amount has been used from the operating budget of the county. Contributing to the project include a Great Outdoors Colorado Grant (GOCO), grant for $75,000. GOCO helps distribute lottery funds and these funds are used for recreation, land use and land planning. An application is being processed for an additional $25,000 in GOCO funds, which Murray believes will go through. There has been $25,000 in other grants including a King's grant, $2,000 from United Way and the $30,000 in pledges from Craig Youth Hockey. Murray said $50,000 is being paid for from the operating budget. Some concern has risen because of this as some people would like to see the money spent differently. Murray said in a project of this expense, $50,000 is a very little portion and a new facility such as a library could not be built for that amount.

According to Murray, volunteers are helping keep costs down, and Whilden is pleased with all the support.

"This helps to show what we as a community can do if we all work together," Whilden said.

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