A city task force believes Seven Peaks Water Park would be a good setting for a minor league baseball stadium, and the park owners believe an Olympic ice sheet would fit there nicely, as well.
The water park owners asked the Provo city-Utah County Ice Sheet Authority Wednesday to build its $7 million practice ice sheet on Seven Peaks property. To this point, the authority's preferred site has been a city-owned piece of land east of and adjacent to East Bay Golf Course.The authority wants a final site selected and an architect on board by late August. Construction could begin next spring and take about one year to complete. The ice sheet will be funded with $2 million from Provo, $2 million from Utah County and $3 million from the Salt Lake Olympic Committee.
In exchange for SLOC's $3 million, the authority must turn over the rink two weeks before the 2002 Winter Games and 30 days each year if requested for use as an Olympic practice facility.
The Seven Peaks group is proposing construction of a two-rink facility on the east side of the water park parking lot. If the baseball stadium goes in as proposed, the ice facility would sit between it and the water park.
Both rinks would sit under one roof, with Seven Peaks owning one and the authority owning the other. The arrangement would use the condominium principle, with the parties sharing ownership in the main infrastructure and an ownership line dividing the building.
A seating area for 1,000 spectators would be built next to the authority's rink, with the possibility of adding another 1,500 portable seats. In summer months the Seven Peaks rink would be converted to an in-line skating facility.
Seven Peaks owners would donate the property in exchange for some kind of agreement to manage the facility and for ownership of the second rink. The group would need to contribute to the construction costs. The owners believe bringing the competition together would provide Utah Valley residents with a better facility and meet the new need for an in-line skating facility.
"One rink wouldn't even meet the demand that's out there right now," said Max Rabner, a partner in Seven Peaks.
Also, Seven Peaks owners want the area to become the recreational hub of Utah Valley, applying the same theory to recreation as used in other retail centers. Facilities under one complex provide recreational synergy to each other.
"One (facility) begins to enhance the other," Rabner said.
The group also says traffic and parking will be no problem with the ice rink being next to a water park, golf course and possibly a baseball stadium. The peak time and season for each facility differs. If all facilities are constructed, the area would still have more than 1,800 parking stalls. Three exit roads serve the area. A recent company party brought more than 1,200 cars to the water park with no traffic problems.
"They came in mass and they left in mass," Rabner said.
Some members of the authority are concerned about joint ownership of the facility, considering that $4 million of the construction costs is coming from taxpayers. The SLOC earlier balked at a proposal to include the ice sheet inside a mall and might have similar feelings about participating in another private-ownership venture.
"Common ownership is going to be a problem," Provo Mayor George Stewart said.
However, Seven Peaks owners believe the concerns can be worked out. They've discussed their proposal with representatives of the SLOC and Utah Sports Authority.
"We've received some favorable response," Rabner said.
Competing with Seven Peaks for customers is another concern. Authority members want to ensure that their rink doesn't lose money, and some believe that may be the case if the rink is located adjacent to a competing rink.
"I have a serious problem with that," Utah County Commissioner David Gardner said.
Seven Peaks officials said an agreement can be negotiated to prioritize ice time for each sheet. They also said there's plenty of customers to keep both rinks busy.
"I don't see a problem with the competition issue because of the demand there is for ice time," Rabner said.
Authority members asked the Seven Peaks group to return Aug. 19 with a proposal addressing the ownership and competition concerns. Results of soil testing done at the East Bay location also will be complete by then. The authority likely will select a final site at its Aug. 19 meeting.
Provo resident Carl Jacobsen wants the authority to also consider six acres of property his family owns near 500 West and 900 South. However, the land would cost the authority more than $600,000, require the demolition of several homes and five more parcels would need to be acquired.