Utah County Commissioners caused an uproar in March when they sent a letter to Provo City, stating intent to end its contracts over the Peaks Ice Arena.
“We had all these people emailing us and calling us, telling us, ‘Why are you guys shutting this down?’ We want to make sure they understood that’s not our intent,” says Commission Chair Bill Lee.
The facility is jointly owned by Provo and the county. Each entity will pay about $170,000 this year to cover operating costs unmet by skate and ice rental revenue.
Peaks was built in Provo ahead of the 2002 Winter Olympics, when it was used for ice hockey games and as a practice venue. Now it’s home to the BYU men’s hockey team, a youth hockey program and several high school teams. It’s also open for affordable public skating.
As word got out that the county commission intended to leave its contract, people panicked, thinking the county was abruptly pulling its funding and the arena would close. Lee says he and Utah County’s two other commissioners have decided to fund the arena for another year.
“We’re willing, as a county, to keep funding the Peaks Ice Arena into the fiscal 2018 (year), which will be June 30, 2018,” he says. The commission is expected to take action on the measure Tuesday.
In the meantime, Lee says the commission will be looking for potential buyers of the county’s portion. Provo Mayor John Curtis has said he’s uninterested in purchasing the county’s share of the arena.