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Dakota Zinn, 11, is working to get an ice arena built in Lawrence. He’s started a letter writing campaign and enlisting local businesses in his quest. Does Lawrence need an ice rink?

Response Percent Votes
54% 227
45% 189
Total 416


Mike Edson 10 years, 5 months ago

I will say yes. I think it would be a nice edition to the city's winter activities. It should go in the park by 6th & Tennessee.

black_butterfly 10 years, 5 months ago

Why not? With childhood obesity at an all time high, anything that will get kids out of the house off of the computer and video games and exercising can't be a bad idea

mozilla 10 years, 5 months ago

I do so wished it worked that way... getting kids off their sofas... UNfortunately, that burden of responsibility falls squarely on the parents shoulders. We don't have to look very far to see that that probably won't happen. Topeka has been fighting the good fight for this cause for over a year, and their arena is still not built. Apparently it makes no fiscal sense. Wichita actually built their arena and now it sits empty most days because the city doesn't have the operating funds to keep it up and running. I'd love to lie to the ambitious 11-year old spearheading this campaign, but sometimes in adult-world things can't be simplified to doing what you want when you want. Life isn't always kind and gentle...And sometimes even the Good Fight won't win the battle.

Sharon Aikins 10 years, 5 months ago

If we can get the kids moving, why not? There might be a few spills and bruises but the body heals and the mind will always remember the joy of mastering a new skill. I haven't ice skated since I was a kid, too old to start again now, but would have used one regularly and taken my kids as often as I could get their butts, padded of course, there.

Sharon Aikins 10 years, 5 months ago

Just looked at the poll results. I know that an ice rink might seem like a lot of money but could be used year round. Would the results be different it we didn't have all the electronic toys to entertain and amuse our kids? I see so many overweight kids these days and wonder what they do physical. Just buy them another X-box and forget about them?

Kat Christian 10 years, 5 months ago

I want this kids number. I've been saying this for the past 10 years (since I moved here). We need an ice/roller rink for sure for these kids. I remember skating every Saturday when I was a kid - it was the best fun. Not only is it great family recreational fun, but also can develop a competitive team in ice hockey and ice dance. Good for you Dakota count me on your list. When it opens I'll be one of the first one's there to skate - even if I'm an old foggy.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 5 months ago

KU's hockey team has to drive to Olathe to play their games. Since the KU athletic department has been doing so well financially during recent years, it would be great if they could assist in getting a rink built so the team could play locally and the people of Lawrence would have a place to skate. If I was Dakota Zinn, I'd turn to the KU athletic department and hockey team for their input.

auturgy 10 years, 5 months ago

I just went to the Wichita arena less than a month ago, and you could barely skate it was so cram packed full. It was a really nice arena.

toefungus 10 years, 5 months ago

He was probably put up to this by Landmark Bank. Landmark is trying to find every way possible to tax the citizens of Lawrence.

Casey_Jones 10 years, 5 months ago

Adults seem to be a bit on the heavy side lately too. Maybe this would give them a better use of their time than sitting at their computer on They could spend some quality time with their kids and teach them a new hobby. Maybe they could even get some exercise themselves!

coach_dad 10 years, 5 months ago

I think this community should stand behind Dakota. He is an 11 year old with the guts to step up and present an idea, whether it is new or not, to the city lettting the "Powers that Be" know what a youth thinks. Our community is too quick to shut down ideas without taking that chance to create a larger youth environment. There are smaller communities than Lawrence creating much larger sports complexs, for they want to create an environment to bring in families who want to participate in their community. I say........ "Go for it Dakota". Let's support him.

roadrunner 10 years, 5 months ago

i think that we should have a rink so people that love to ice skate that live in Lawrence don't have to drive far to do it

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 5 months ago

glad to see the voting so close to me this sounds like ther are alot of people that might like the rink.

Sigmund 10 years, 5 months ago

These poll questions are always absurd. Ask if you want an Ice Rink the answer is usually positive, but it isn't a fair question. On the other hand ask if you want to pay for an Ice Rink with increase in sales, real estate, and intangibles taxes and reduced street maintenances, higher user fees for aquatic center, or reduce fire and police to pay for an Ice Rick and the numbers decline dramatically.

I want a free Playstation 2 for every 11 year old in Lawrence. Lets all get behind that!

coach_dad 10 years, 5 months ago

Apparently those against youth sports are a part of the problem, and not part of the answer to childhood obesity/health. This young man is trying to benefit the youth of douglas county, and befor those that are uninformed make comments on something they no little about, maybe they should look at how it is being funded before making comments that it is coming out of taxes. And so what if it is; We are investing in our youth, our community!Infrustructure comes with growth, and drawing more people to the community helps support that. Road maintenance will always happen, and comes out of a different fund. When a community grows, there will be more tax money to take care of those maintenance issues. Lets grow our community today, for these kids are our future.

Bitterfalls 10 years, 5 months ago

I just don't think there is really truly that much interest in ice-skating outside of a few weeks in the winter.

Didn't they flood part of the train park and let it freeze for skating?

If this thing is totally privately funded, or done with KU's cash cow, then I have no problem with it.

A bunch of Topeka cops tried to get a hockey or skating park going, and there just really wasn't any real interest in it outside of a tiny handful of people.

But several years ago, a group of determined kids worked and finally got a skateboard park built. There is actually more interest in that. Hockey and ice-skating are just not popular, or traditional to this area except right around xmass.

I've got no problem with privately funding such a thing, as long as 2 years down the road when the private funders are sick of paying for something that really isn't used that much suddenly want the city to pick up the tab for upkeep and operating costs.

Bravo to this kid! I just hope that after he tries and most likely fails, that he does not give up on this type of thing.

workinghard 10 years, 5 months ago

KU would have a better chance of getting one built than the city would. Not only would it attract hockey students to KU but also figure skaters. KU should look into the figure skating summer programs offered by other universities such as the University of Deleware and Denver. Parents pay big bucks to send their kids to these programs. Lawrence has several skating coaches living here that could staff the rink year round for lessons. Skating lessons bring in a lot of money. If Topeka has any high school or private hockey teams, Lawrence would be a lot closer than where they are going now.

LogicMan 10 years, 5 months ago

Need? No.

Want? Sure!

But the construction, energy, insurance, and maintenance costs are very high. So can we afford one? Unfortunately not likely, for now.

"Didn't they flood part of the train park and let it freeze for skating?"

Yes, but I don't know if it has been done lately. Lots of liability ...

coach_dad 10 years, 5 months ago

I dont believe this is just for recreation and scraping up some ice; it is for organized team sports, practice to Topeka Roadrunners and KU, as well as, free skating. You cant flood a park, expect mother nature to stay below 28 degrees (what it needs) and play organized sports. Be real. League cost, recreation and local sport clubs pay a lot of money to goto Kansas City for their ice. It could support its self. there is just as much liability if someone slipped on the ice outside of city hall, and they leave that untreated. If liabilitiy was an issue, they would be on top of that.

skull 10 years, 5 months ago

Sure Lawrence should build an ice arena. I just hope it receives the same amount of maintenance and development as the Lawrence skatepark has in the decade since it was built...NONE. We can't even get somebody to change the lightbulbs when they burn out. There are over 50 kids that use that facility everyday all year round. Maybe we should put a little more money into something we have already built.

BigPrune 10 years, 5 months ago

That's all good and all but my question is, is this kid originally from a northern state where ice hockey is prevalent?

This needs to be done privately. Let a business man do the study on the economic feasibilty of such a grand plan. First it was lady banker wanting to tax us so she wouldn't have to drive her daughter(s) to Overland Park to ice skate, now it is a little boy. More power to him if he can convince some of the big shots in town to make this dream reality, but if it is publicly funded, forget it.

The big shots are in bed together regardless of political affiliation. Let them make his dream reality, just not the taxpayers. First of all, find an operator with some bucks, then the big shots will come in to make it happen.

KU_cynic 10 years, 5 months ago

Now, how about a 100% perpetual property tax abatement for anyone willing develop private sector property for the benefit of area youth activities? If the market can support an ice rink, then let the private sector be unimpeded in identifying and responding to the demand.

Legend 10 years, 5 months ago

It is commendable that this young man is getting behind this project. Good for him!!!

However, if we want to get behind sports facilitites, it should be for sports that a vast majority of youth and adults could benefit from - baseball/softball diamonds and basketball facilities. We spend thousands of dollars per year traveling to, eating in and sleeping in hotels of other cities. All because Lawrence doesn't have enough facilities to host these events.

The idea and energy of this young man is awesome, but, the focus is misguided.

Bitterfalls 10 years, 5 months ago

Those kids had to fight tooth and nail, for a couple of years to get that skate park built.

Topeka's hockey has been a miserable failure. No one cares about hockey around here.

But Topeka's expo center has the ice, and I understand that they have open skating, and some sort of pick-up Hockey games.

So why not have KU and whoever gives a cr@p about hockey just go to Topeka for their ice jollies?

I think Lawrence needs a tiddly-winks court, a yo-yo arena, a hop-scotch park and a sky-diving target.

firedup 10 years, 5 months ago

Topeka has ice through March then other events take over the Expo. Obviously look at this poll there is intrest in ice for Lawrence. Some Lawrence people (me included ) go to Hockey there to watch the RoadRunners with the average of attendence around 1800+ and spend some dollars there. This isnt just for ice hockey its a arena for lots of things...Kudos to those kids who faught for the skate park. We are short on other sport facilities but at least we have them!!!

coach_dad 10 years, 5 months ago

Misguided....... where do you get misguided? if a youth wants a hamburger, why would you give him a pizza. If he is on a quest for a Hockey arena, why would he want a baseball park or basketball court? A recent survey with P.L.A.Y. found that Hockey was on top of the list with many citizens in lawrence. Read the paper. see below:

April 12, 2007 On ice

An indoor ice arena topped the list of potential new indoor and outdoor facilities. A total of 33 percent of respondents - when presented with a list of 13 possible projects - listed an indoor ice arena as a facility that they would likely use. A new fieldhouse for basketball and volleyball was next in line at 28 percent. An outdoor tennis complex was third at 19 percent.

Bitterfalls 10 years, 5 months ago

I just took a poll, the results are that 100% of the people I polled felt like Lawrence needs a tiddly-winks court.

Marenarasauce 10 years, 5 months ago

I think that we should have an iceskating rink in Lawrence because I have had a party at the Kansas City rink and that is far to go to just skate. Also the rink is only open when the weather is very bad. Also I do think we should have a hocky team. It would be fun to go and watch people from here instead of people from different states or citys. Also I think it would be fun to have a boy my own age open somthing that is alot of money that the public could use for entertainment. You have my friends and familys support Dakota!

Keith 10 years, 5 months ago

Well, it looks like everyone who won't be paying for it is for it. Too bad the rest of us are tapped out and taxed out. This city can't even pay for its current boodoggles and we need to add more?

Godot 10 years, 5 months ago

Let the businessmen step up and build it. A privately owned and operated ice rink is just what this community needs.

Marenarasauce 10 years, 5 months ago

Don't give up now! If you quit niothing will happen and you can raise enough money for it! Also if you think about you can make money off the rink if you stick with it. I know you can do it because if you want somthing you will fight for it until you get it. We need this, our comunity needs this! Stay with it and make a difference for people our age. Make them think that we are the same as them and they arn't better than us and that you deserve it because you want to play hocky and skat in Lawrence!!You can do it! You know who this is and that i beleive in you

Tom McCune 10 years, 5 months ago

Do you folks have any idea what it costs to build and maintain a facility of this type? Try $6m or $7m construction cost plus the cost of the raw land and a bunch of other "soft" costs. It would be easy to rack up a total project cost of $10m. It can cost $50k+ per year just to run the chiller plant to make the ice. Insurance? Who knows?

If you think this is a good idea, why don't you go buy a parcel of land, round up some investors, get some bank financing, and build it? Personally, I wouldn't risk my own money on such an investment, but who knows?

Kansaskid88 10 years, 5 months ago

Just a reminder....

1) The kid is 11 years old. It's not like he is made of money. That is why he is talking to businesses for donations.

2) Last time I checked, he wasn't talking about a world class olympic ice rink.

3) More interest from the community=more money for businesses that want to sponser his project.

Dakota, I am behind your idea 100%. Go get'em.

coach_dad 10 years, 5 months ago

For 10 million Dakota could put in 3 rinks and a basketball court, 5 meeting rooms, an office, and 100k in parking, storm drainage, Sanitary Sewer, H20, Cobra Head Luminaires, landscaping........ but I think that is a bit overkill. How about a simple Ice Rink like he plans. Watch Channel 6 and read the paper to see what he had in mind. The boy has brains behind his ideas. He is not going blind into this effort. Give him some credit.

Amy Bartle 10 years, 5 months ago

I know that our family of five would definitely use an ice rink and would love to go to ice skating lessons and ice skating parties (plus hockey!) without having to drive to KC. And it's a nice alternative to the swimming pools here. My only concern is the cost. So many places that offer recreational activities (dance, cheer, gymnastics) have downsized significantly or closed or got bought out. I believe this is because the economy has been bad, so people cut out recreation first. We have gone to the PepsiCo ice rink in Overland Park and it's fantastic - but all 3 times we have been there, it was really practically empty. I think whoever is interested in opening one, needs to talk with the owners and investors of the PepsiCo ice rink to find out if they are making any type of profit, how it is funded, and usage expectations. It may be a lot bigger than something we would have in a town the size of Lawrence, but it would be interesting to find out how they got it built.

BigPrune 10 years, 5 months ago

When this comment area first appeared, there wasn't a correlating article.

soulerflare 10 years, 5 months ago

I think we should support such an enterprising young man and a good community project not asking for a taxpayer handout.

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 5 months ago

Does the city still flood Watson park for an ice rink? I haven't heard anything about it lately?

RomanNose 10 years, 5 months ago

You know what they say about ice skating rinks and crime...

KLATTU 10 years, 5 months ago

How about a roller rink where I can take my kids all year round? I'm having a hard time imagining an ice rink staying afloat if we can't even support a roller rink.

KLATTU 10 years, 5 months ago

And then we could have a Roller Derby team, which is way cooler than hockey.

soulerflare 10 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence has something most other towns this size don't have - 25,000 college students.

If promoted correctly, it could work in Lawrence. Gymnastics and some of the other examples cited have appeal to a far smaller group of people.

50YearResident 10 years, 5 months ago

Before this project gets carried away, if the City or Taxpayers are going to be expected to foot most of the bill then the costs and expenses need to be exposed. What will it cost to build and what are the operating expenses going to be annually into the next 40 years? Who is going to provide the operating costs to keep it open? Payroll, maintenance, insurance, taxes, utilities are overwhelming. There is a reason why there isn't an Ice Rink in every city like swimming pools. They are not profitable. Private companies wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot stick. This is not going to be something to take weight off fat kids because they won't be able to stand up on the blades.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm having a hard time imagining an ice rink staying afloat if we can't even support a roller rink.

Roller skating went out with disco. A roller rink would never work.

50YearResident 10 years, 5 months ago

If Dakota can pull this one off then he needs to be put on the Library Board building committee.

braden_quinn 10 years, 5 months ago

though it would be nice to have, global warming is a b*tch

Bladerunner 10 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence needs an ice rink like I need hemorrhoids.

BigPrune 10 years, 5 months ago

Always aim high! Ice skating and.....

Ski Kansas

Build it OVER the Kansas River, the elevated starting point being in north Lawrence with the slope heading into the downtown. At the Rueter Organ Building, turn that area into the ice rink. Cable Cars outside the indoor ski slope could shuttle people back and forth over the river. Of course it would still have ski lifts inside. Privately funded or better yet, STAR dollars. What a regional attraction this would be for the downtown. The high rents downtown will go even higher, and this attraction will pull more than The Legends. Imagine the promotional possibilities. The place could be seen by everyone on I-70.

Aim higher! The 1800's into the Space Age. That area of east Lawrence and north Lawrence would be worth a gold mine.

EireishHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Can I say no without appearing to be too much of a grinch? It would be great if we could build a number of venues wherein our residents and children could play/exercise. But considering that we have been told there is no money to repair the streets and a number of other maintenance type projects for the city, I would have to say no, not unless it is private funded.

firedup 10 years, 5 months ago

Gees folks how many times do you need to read they are looking for PRIVATE investors which means PRIVATE FUNDED...He is not looking to raise any taxes for Lawrence remember they are a local tax paying family too....The "funding" issues have been talked about numerous times... Keep the positive momentum going. Keep your chin up kid!!!!

jsal 10 years, 4 months ago

I began playing ice hockey when I was 6 years old...what a great fast paced sport. I think Lawrence would benefit greatly from a ice arena, and a roller rink. We need additional activities for our youth in our city. I have often made the trip to Topeka or Kansas City to go play pick up hockey, or, go skating for a few hours. What a great way to stay in shape and have fun with your family. What fun it would be to go ice skating when it is 100 degrees outside! Lets get that going in our community!

Stick with your vision Dakota...persistence often pays!

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