Fremont ice rink plan may get public update

A concept that would allow for year-round skating outdoors on synthetic ice could soon get a public airing.

What the facility at Erhart and Fremont Center roads would entail is expected to be the topic of an informational meeting to be hosted by Fremont Township.

When that might happen is to be determined, but township officials apparently want to gauge public interest and discuss other details of such a facility, which could cost $1 million or more.

“I’m very afraid of this turning into a white elephant if we don’t look at how it’ll be planned out financially,” township Trustee Cornelius Shanahan said last week after the annual town meeting, where the status of the ice rink proposal came up.

“We haven’t really discussed it in depth. I’d like to see a public meeting.”

The idea of a covered, outdoor facility that would resemble a typical hockey rink using synthetic ice was pitched last summer by township resident Al Stensrud, who distributes the synthetic surface known as XTRAICE.

The thought was to pair with Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills for programming at the rink, which would be owned by the township. Stensrud said the facility would not just be “a hockey rink in a field.”

A 7-acre site owned by the township was identified, soil tests and other preliminary work done, but it has not progressed further.

“With the state of the economy and fluctuating budgets, it kind of lost a little steam,” Stensrud said last week.

“I guess they’re kicking it around, but I haven’t heard anything solid. They’re not ready to pull the trigger.”

Township Trustee Chic Martin was involved in the discussion of the project as a member of the township’s parks committee. At the town meeting last week, Martin said an ice arena would be the first revenue generating sports facility in the township and has value as a multiuse venue that could be used year-round.

“It’s up to the residents of the township to voice their opinion of whether this might be a viable project to move forward with,” he said Monday.

No date has been set but the matter of a public meeting on the subject likely could be discussed May 9 at the next township meeting, according to township Supervisor Pete Tekampe.