A future $20 million ice rink complex likely won’t be going to Freedom Park, a site that had been criticized by both residents and city officials. But where it will be built isn’t yet known.
A majority of members of both the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission and Greenwood City Council — the two entities that have to approve a financial incentive for the developer — have said they would not approve any incentive for the facility in Freedom Park. Members said they would like to see the project come to Greenwood, but in a better location.
In March, minor-league hockey team Indy Fuel owners Jim and Sean Hallett proposed the Greenwood Iceplex with up to four ice rinks to be built on 6 acres at Freedom Park. The 115,000-square-foot complex was proposed to be built south of the city-owned Freedom Springs Aquatic Center on the east side of Freedom Park, near the park entrance at the intersection of Stop 18 and Averitt roads.
They requested a five-year, $450,000 property tax break, and the city also offered to lease the land for $1 a month for 60 years. Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers later withdrew the tax break request, citing concerns about the legality of the tax break and the additional costs from stricter construction standards the council wanted.
Story continues below gallery
Instead, Myers said the city would consider requesting a similar, $450,000 financial incentive through the redevelopment commission, and the board heard a presentation in April.
Since then, the silence about the Iceplex from city officials and the developer has been deafening, said Mike Campbell, who is a member of both the city council and the redevelopment commission.
Myers has said that negotiations still were ongoing, and wouldn’t detail who those negotiations were with or what they were about.
“All the sites we originally looked at are on the table, and we have no update at this time,” said Sean Hallett, one of the developers. The identity of any other locations being considered hasn’t been disclosed.
Most of members of the council and redevelopment commission have said they will oppose building the Iceplex in Freedom Park and don’t expect it to end up at that location. The Greenwood Board of Parks and Recreation would decide whether the city will lease the land in Freedom Park, but the city council and redevelopment commission would have to approve any financial incentives.
The Greenwood City Council voted 5-4 to give initial approval to the tax break for building the ice-rink complex in Freedom Park but set strict construction standards for the project and chose to forbid the extension of Stop 18 Road through the park.
Three of the council members who initially voted for the Iceplex tax break in April now say they are opposed to the facility being built in Freedom Park. Campbell, Ron Bates and Linda Gibson said they could no longer support putting the Iceplex in that spot.
“It was too controversial,” Bates said. “A win-win shouldn’t be that controversial.”
In meetings after the Iceplex was announced, residents raised multiple concerns including the impact the extra traffic would have on already busy roads, whether it was appropriate to give away city park land to a private developer, potential alcohol sales on the property, whether the tax break was legal and the impact the development would have on a busy city park. Residents said the project would be good for Greenwood, but should be built somewhere other than Freedom Park.
Gibson said she had concerns about the location when she voted in favor of the tax break, but she wanted to keep the project alive to allow for a compromise to be found to address residents’ concerns prior to the final vote.
“I do think it is better to not be considering Freedom Park,” Gibson said. “I don’t think it is a good fit.”
Council members Chuck Landon and Bruce Armstrong also said they oppose putting the Iceplex in Freedom Park. Brent Corey said he wanted to look at a different location for the Iceplex. Corey said he has been told that Freedom Park is no longer an option for the Iceplex, but declined to say where he had received that information.
“I’ve heard that there is so much push back on Freedom Park that they aren’t going to look at it any longer,” he said. “People familiar with the situation have told me Freedom Park is no longer an option.”
Council member Ezra Hill said he favored a location other than the Iceplex, but said he would consider Freedom Park depending on the specific circumstances.
Council members David Lekse, who had voted against the Iceplex tax break in April, and David Hopper, who had voted in favor the tax break, weren’t able to be reached for comment.
At least three of the five redevelopment commission members, Landon, Campbell and Mike Tapp, have said they will vote against any plan that would place the Iceplex in Freedom Park. Member Brent Tilson said he was uncommitted. Bryan Harris, who had said in April that he was uncommitted, wasn’t able to be reached for comment.
Where the Iceplex would go in Greenwood if it is not placed at Freedom Park is not known. Residents and council members had suggested land along Interstate 65 and Worthsville Road.
“I would be shocked if it was proposed for Freedom Park,” Campbell said.
Myers declined to comment about whether Freedom Park was still a possible location for the Iceplex.
“I’m not going to comment on where it will go or where it will be; that’s premature,” Myers said, adding that only a limited number of people are involved in the negotiations.
Tapp said he is ready for more details to be revealed.
“I’m just as anxious as everyone else is to get something going,” he said.
What: The Greenwood Iceplex, a four ice-rink complex that would be the largest in the state and one of the biggest in the Midwest, will cover 115,000 square feet and cost $20 million.
Details: Two ice rinks, two turf fields, which are planned to be later converted into ice rinks, a 4,000-square-foot fitness and training facility open to the public, retail space, locker rooms and food service. The ice rinks will be used for hockey, skating, figure skating, speed skating, curling, broomball and other ice sports.
Owned by: Jim and Sean Hallett, owners of minor-league hockey team Indy Fuel
Here is a look at the incentive the city has considered for the Iceplex:
Tax break: The developers requested a five-year, $450,000 property tax break, and the city also offered to lease the land for $1 a month for 60 years. That proposal was later withdrawn by Mayor Mark Myers.
Incentive: A similar, $450,000 financial incentive would go through the redevelopment commission, and the board heard a presentation in April, but no formal request has been made.