South Reno Indoor Ice Rink Up For County Approval Tuesday (Updated)

The indoor ice rink will be located on six acres of now unused land at the Washoe County South Valleys Sports Complex.
The indoor ice rink will be located on six acres of unused land at the Washoe County South Valleys Sports Complex.

UPDATE (9/12/17): The Board approved unanimously today the agreement to lease the land to Reno Ice.

The Washoe Board of County Commissioners is expected on Tuesday to consider an lease agreement for a new indoor ice rink in South Reno.

The community facility is being pushed by a non-profit, the Greater Reno Community Ice Skating Association (Reno Ice).

The agreement before the commissioners will give the go-ahead for an estimated $7.4 million rink at the Washoe County South Valleys Regional Park on what is now bare ground at the park’s sports complex. That amount is for phase one of the project and will build a National Hockey League-sized ice rink. A second phase could mean a second Olympic-sized rink, depending on demand.

Reno Ice said it has $2 million in funding, a donation from the Sean and Jennifer O’Neal Family Foundation, for phase one.

The parcel of land being leased by Reno Ice for $1 a year from the County.
The parcel of land that will be leased to Reno Ice for $1 a year by the County.

Joel Grace, president of Reno Ice, said that construction will begin once about 80-percent of the fundraising goals have been met.

“If one of the donors we’re talking to writes a check, we can begin construction,” he said. “We haven’t been able to fund-raise because we haven’t controlled the property.”

The agreement will allow the non-profit to lease the land for $1 a year from the county. The group has already put forward $20 for the lease’s 20-year term.

Washoe County’s Dave Solaro said that the project benefits the community, but it has taken some time to iron out the agreement.

“The Reno Ice group came to us, and we have a unsolicited proposals policy,” he said. “Part of that is to make sure that Washoe County taxpayers are protected at the end of the day.”

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Negotiations entailed creating a master plan, and making sure the facility fits with the character of the park, he said. “Unfortunately it’s one those processes that takes time.

“The community members within Washoe County get now what we as the government can’t provide to them,” Solaro added. “We get the benefit of having a regional facility that we don’t put maintenance dollars into or staff time, really. It’s another recreational opportunity for the community.”

The rink will be open to the public.

According to the group, “Reno Ice will offer the Northern Nevada community various programs such as private lessons, public ice skating sessions, hockey leagues, broomball, curling, trade shows, tournaments, performances, figure skating, private parties and special events on and off of the ice.”

Reno Ice is comprised of community leaders, including Grace of Reno Land, Inc. Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and Washoe Commissioner Bob Lucey serve as advisors.

CORRECTION: The original figure for the facility was reported as $4.4 million. According to Washoe County documents, the estimated cost is $7.4 million.

About Bob Conrad 938 Articles
Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.


  1. Please check your sources. I believe the land is in unincorporated Washoe County. It is the county commission who is negotiating with a private party to lease the land for $1.00 per year. So firing the Reno city council probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. Although they also make a lot of dumb development decisions thus may not be one of them.

    • I concluded with, “It will take two election cycles to get rid of them all, but we simply must get fiscally responsible people on our City Council and County Board.” So, yes, I agree that both the Council and County Board have to go.

      The litmus test for any expenditure should be would any of the individuals elected to office make such a deal with their own assets. Take the $70,000 Reno spent on rusty metal letters that spell, “BELIEVE.” The guy from burning man was going to junk the letters and was laughing all the way to the bank when the Reno Council paid him $10,000 per letter for that eyesore. Who among them would write a check for $10,000 for a rusty letter, let alone, $70,000 for seven rusty letters?

  2. If any of our citizens owned that land, I know of no one who would give it away for $1 per year so that a private entity could host a minor league hockey program. I have seen this deal in other places. The public access is very limited and there are a lot of fees required for access.

    Given that this is prime real estate, take a look at the cost-benefit analysis. In other places this sort of $1 a year deal is usually reserved for a brownfield site that is unsuitable for any other sort of development; not prime suburban real estate. The property could generate millions in revenue, but instead, the current Reno leadership is going to net a dollar per year. Of course, the tax burden falls on the rest of the property tax owners every time the Reno Council gives away public assets (or money) to one of their cronies.

    The citizens must rise up and fire the current Council. No competent city council gives away property like this. The citizens must understand that with every give-away, the tax burden on those who pay property taxes will go up by a disproportional amount. Don’t like high rents? Then vote against this spendthrift Council. It will take two election cycles to get rid of them all, but we simply must get fiscally responsible people on our City Council and County Board.

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