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Mitchell's new ice rink open for skating

Mitchell's new and second indoor ice rink, pictured here, is now open for skating at the Mitchell Activities Center. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

The Mitchell Skating and Hockey Association has raised more than $600,000 for the construction of a second indoor ice rink at the Mitchell Activities Center — at least $100,000 more than expected.

For more than a year, the association has been fundraising to help fund the construction of the second indoor ice rink, for which it pledged to raise $500,000. Mitchell City Council President Jeff Smith, who is also a member of the association’s committee for the project, said in an interview Tuesday that the association has far surpassed its fundraising goal.

On Monday, the city’s second indoor ice rink was opened for open skating for the first time, according to Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Dusty Rodiek.

“We still have some odds and ends to finish up,” Rodiek said. “It’s certainly good for it to start seeing some use.”

Smith described the community’s support for the project as “truly amazing.” All of the money raised by the association for the project was donated by either businesses or individuals, Smith said.

“I’m pretty happy, obviously, with the outcome,” he said. “It just shows that this project was needed.”

In addition to the money raised by the association, the $2.8 million project is being paid for with $2 million of the $13.9 million in bonds the city sold in December and January for various projects and about $400,000 the city expects to raise through a business improvement district tax on the city’s hotels and motels.

With the extra money, the association was able to buy a used ice resurfacer, commonly known as a Zamboni, for about $22,000 from a company in Minnesota. The machine, which should be available in the next few weeks, will serve as a backup to the association’s other ice resurfacer, Smith said.

“It’s just good to have a backup,” he said. “Anybody that has been in hockey a few years knows that if your Zamboni goes down, you’re shut down.”

The association was also able to pay for approximately $25,000 worth of unplanned improvements to the lobby and concessions area, Smith said.

With the additional improvements, the lobby and concessions area is twice the size it was, and a storage area has been connected to concessions to allow for easier access to the products.

As the project nears total completion, Smith said he is astounded by the results.

“I walked into it a couple of weeks ago and took a look around, and it was truly amazing how nice it turned out,” he said.