After negotiations with the city regarding a budget change, it was agreed on Tuesday that $3 million will be raised by the non-profit board Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, in order to ensure the future of Fort Dupont Ice Arena which is D.C.’s only indoor ice rink used by over 3,000 kids for skating practice.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the non-profit that runs the ice rink in Ward 7 signed a deal for the renovation of the facility following two weeks of talks.
“There are a lot of kids who actually use the rink as a safe space because there is an absence of activity, particularly for girls in middle school,” said board member Patrice Willoughby.
“We’ve committed to raise $3 million by February 2020, at which point, the city will be triggered to put money into the budget to build the new two-rink facility,” added Willoughby.
As many know, "The new 2-rink arena has been a dream for the Fort Dupont Ice Arena (FDIA) kids and their families for years…" Read our official statement (https://t.co/8wWlNWZ21l) and support our GoFundMe (https://t.co/18etzheRBd). #saveourrink #savethefort pic.twitter.com/Mp8WoRLbvH
— Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena (@FriendsofFDIA) February 20, 2019
The ice rink also doubles up as a community center in the neighborhood, offering speed skating, hockey, and skating programs for kids, among other activities.
There have been plans to expand the arena since 2014, according to Willoughby, and the recent attention following negotiations with the city has generated more interest for a need to create a bigger and safer facility for kids living in the District.
“This is really an uphill battle. We are a small nonprofit board and to commit to raise $3 million by February 2020 is a huge goal,” she said.
Willem Polak, the chairman of the Fort Dupont Board of Directors said in a statement that the new two-rink arena has been a demand of the Fort Dupont Ice Arena kids and their families for many years. “This agreement with the District of Columbia now puts the new rink on a clear, even if steep, path for becoming a reality,” said Polak.
The Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena will have to raise $5 million of $30 million required for renovation and expansion of the ice rink. There is a deadline of February 1, 2020, to raise the first $3 million after which the city will sign the contract to start the project.