On Your Side: Where is the ice rink that was planned for South Reno in 2015?
Developer and dad Joel Grace is looking forward to the day his kids can play hockey in south Reno instead of traveling all the way to South Lake Tahoe.
That's where the closest rink is that's suitable for any kind of competition.
"My kids want to play," said Grace.
"I grew up in New England. That (South Lake Tahoe) is the closest place to play, and it's just too far to get kids after school," he said.
Grace is the board president of the Greater Reno Community Ice Skating Association, the group that's working to turn its plans into reality. The goal is to eventually build two rinks on six acres of land next to the South Valley's library off of Wedge Parkway.
"Phase one is kind of your basic ice rink," Grace explained. "You'll have some stands, concessions, a pro-shop."
But these plans have been in the works for quite a while. In fact, News 4 has learned supporters paid Washoe County $40,000 to cover all of the county's planning costs more than two years ago. The item appeared on a Washoe County Commission agenda back in January 2015, with the county accepting what it called a "donation" from the group at that time.
So what has taken so long if supporters are paying for all the work?
Dave Solaro, the county's Director of Community Services, declined to offer a specific explanation.
"We've been in negotiations with the ice skating group to try to hammer out a deal that works well for the citizens of Washoe County," he said.
Joel Grace praised the county for its efforts. But others who are closely involved with the project, who spoke on the condition that we not identify them, tell News 4 the delays on the county's part nearly jeopardized this entire project because some donors were ready to walk away from it and look for another site.
Grace did express frustration, but he does not want to point fingers at the county.
"Unfortunately it's taken a lot longer than we would like. This isn't the county's only responsibility," he said.
Grace says his group has $2 million in the bank and they'll have no problem raising the remaining $5 million needed to turn this dream into reality. All they need now is the county's blessings -- something they've been waiting two and a half years for.
"We're just looking forward to getting this accomplished," Grace said. "Bringing this to the kids and adults of this community. We're real excited to move forward."
So while the county is not providing details on what has led to the delays, we should be hearing more soon.
Solaro says they are hoping to put this on the September 12 County Commission Agenda. At that point there should be a public discussion, and we'll find out a lot more about the timeline moving forward.