St. Louis puts temporary hold on Blues practice rink that bulldozed public park

The St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 last night to put on hold construction of the new St. Louis Blues practice rink that, it turned out a few days ago, is destroying public parkland without the required permission of the National Park Service:

“When council members called the developers of this project, they were told that the land disturbances that were taking place in Creve Coeur had nothing to do with the ice rink, it was for stormwater,” [council char Sam] Page said. “We know that now to be false … It’s important to tell the truth and follow the rules.”

The council’s decision to put the rink — sorry, it can’t be avoided — on ice came despite heavy turnout by youth hockey parents, who Blues execs had asked to come show support for their construction project, which would also include amateur rink space. More than 17,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the rinks not to be built in the park.

Meanwhile, the cost of the rinks appears to have gone up, from $59.3 million to $66 million, including $38.3 million in public bonds, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The bonds would be repaid via a complicated series of lease agreements with a nonprofit organization — I still haven’t been able to find all the details, though the Post-Dispatch does report that the county would be on the hook for as much as $450,000 a year in “backstop payments” if money fell short. Seems like lots of reasons to call a timeout on this one, really — now let’s see how everyone does going forward on that whole telling the truth and following the rules thing.

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6 comments on “St. Louis puts temporary hold on Blues practice rink that bulldozed public park

  1. What’s crazy is that I went to the Blues current practice rink once this past season and it’s in a mall in the suburbs and it’s a nice setup. I don’t really understand why they’d need to build a new one other than free money, so maybe that’s why. But Creve Couer shouldn’t have agreed with it. It’s a practice rink, it’s not going to generate funds.

    1. New practice facilities now include upscale locker rooms, training rooms, medical facilities, dining areas, etc. It seems now that it isn’t enough for teams to get cities or counties to pay for new stadia, they want fancy new practice facilities as well.

  2. I think the Dallas Stars have 8 practice rinks. There’s another one going in in mansfield, TX whose cost has ballooned out of control. Has nothing to do with actual, professional hockey team practices actually.

    1. The Stars can practice at their home arena. The reason for the multiple practice rinks is to pad hockey participation numbers which are basically 0 in a country our size and wealth. Every kid they can get into the practice facilities is counted as an active player even if the kid never steps onto The ice.

  3. All the other leagues are just trying to copy the the MLB model of having multiple cities subsidize multiple facilities at every level of the organization. It’s the main reason why the NBA & NFL have started or are in process of starting development teams. Although the current taxpayers subsidized college model is sufficient the chance to extort cities is too easy.

    1. At least with MLB, there are games played at the facilities and tickets are sold for a few weeks a year.
      NFL did this with the Ram and StL built the practice facilities and when they left StL, Kroenke can buy it for a $1 some years done the road.
      You would think that StL Politicians would have learned, but given MLS, the Blues arena, the Bush Stadium, Ball Park Village, and now this. End of Rant.

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