Viewpoint: Steep locker room cost will be worth it in the endThank you to the Bulletin for the Aug. 13 article regarding the difficulties in building the boys and girls locker rooms in the new wing of the Cottage Grove Ice Arena.
By: Shelley Landgraf, South Washington County Bulletin
Thank you to the Bulletin for the Aug. 13 article regarding the difficulties in building the boys and girls locker rooms in the new wing of the Cottage Grove Ice Arena. As president of the Park Boys Hockey Booster Club, I am excited for the boys and girls varsity teams to finally have their own dedicated locker rooms. We appreciate the City of Cottage Grove and the South Washington County School District for allowing us this opportunity.
Referring back to the article, I do note that a few details were omitted and should be brought forward. The Cottage Grove Hockey Association and its members have made a generous contribution of $10,000 this past season. The little termites up to the bantams and U14s will someday have the opportunity to use the rooms when they play for Park High School, so this contribution was a giant leap for us. We greatly appreciate their forward thinking and that they are helping build a capital asset for the long term. Also, not clear in the article is that there have been three groups coordinating and collaborating to raise the funds needed. I would like to thank the Cottage Grove Hockey Association, the Park Girls Booster Club and my own group, the Park Boys Booster Club. The Boys Booster Club was contacted for the article, but I was out of town at that time. In addition, we would like to thank the community and businesses for supporting this endeavor. For example, the boys just held a VFW Burger night and profited over $850 thanks to you. The boys and girls recently held a joint car wash and netted over $650. We are currently holding a joint raffle offering a great prize, and we had a joint dunk tank at Strawberry Fest – with other events such as a golf tournament coming up. As you can see we are slowly pecking away at the $40,000 needed for the two teams to receive their keys to the locker rooms. While $40,000 is a huge amount to us, it is a small amount in the larger scheme of things. The $40,000 will go back in the coffers for the new arena. Without this, the rooms will be for general usage, and the city will not get the $40,000 from the boosters. Once we have enough to get in the door, then we will work to raise another estimated $35,000 to equip the rooms (i.e., lockers and benches, etc.). Yes, it is a huge burden to raise the money for the locker rooms for the current members of the booster clubs who will be using it for the short term, but it really will benefit the Cottage Grove Hockey Association/Park High School hockey community coming up in the program — so for the long term, it will be worth it — even if we have the opportunity to make lease payments to the city.
As a taxpayer, I too have difficulty understanding why the teams need their own locker rooms. As booster club president, I am trying to look at it in a different way. With the additional sheet of ice, 16-team tournaments can now be easily held —which will help the economic prosperity of the bars, restaurants and hotels of Cottage Grove. In addition, the new sheet of ice can be used for other activities in the summer — with the possibility of bringing in other events and customers. Many people may not realize that many skaters and their families were driving to River Falls, Ramsey County, South St. Paul or anywhere we could find ice for practice hours for many years. Why spend our money in these other communities? Let’s keep our dollars here in Cottage Grove. Regarding the locker rooms, our hockey players warrant the same treatment as their peers in other sports of Park High School — who share a dedicated locker room at the high school to store their gear in a secure area and to meet with their team and coaches. No other association teams or youth groups use these rooms. Most high school teams have their own locker rooms. With practices immediately after high school, the hockey players do not have the opportunity to go home and get their gear. Instead, players store their bulky bags with their gear in their cars during the school day (as there is currently not a secure area at the arena nor is there space in the locker rooms at the high school) and then they have to put on frozen stinky gear and ice cold skates for practice.
Look for us in the Bulletin and on the Web and come to one of our home games this season. The girls will generally be using the new rink and the boys will be in the current rink. In fact, Dec. 16, the Cottage Grove Ice Arena plays host to home games for both the girls and boys teams at the same time using both rinks. If a business or a citizen wishes to make a contribution for the locker rooms, contact Zac Dockter, Director of Parks and Recreation whose office is normally at the arena, and he will direct you to the Boys or Girls Booster Clubs. Contact either one of the varsity coaches, Jay Moser or Darren Reiter, who will gladly accept a contribution — including appropriate sponsorships/advertising, etc. Or watch for our fundraising events announced in the Bulletin and on the local cable channel.
Jay Moser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelley Landgraf is president of the Park Boys Hockey Booster Club.