IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The Idaho Falls Ice Arena at Tautphaus Park opened early this year due to donations from Idaho Falls hockey and skating organizations.
The main reason the ice rink opened earlier is due to the building being insulated.
Three core user groups part of Idaho Falls hockey and skating programs made a generous donation to make sure the building could be insulated and preserve ice conditions.
"They were gracious to donate up to 20,000 or $21,000 in funding to help us insulate this building," Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Chris Horsley said.
While the rink opened a month early to accommodate the core user groups in the area, the rink will open to the public on Sept. 30. More information on skating lessons and public skate times will be made available in the next couple of weeks.
"We will also have a ice lesson trial so people can come out and explore ice lessons to see if it's something your kids would be interested in," Horsley said.
Learn to skate programs will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays where kids ages 4 to 18 can come and learn ice skating. The rink will also hold free skate for those more experienced. For anyone interested signing up for skating lessons or hitting the ice, you can visit the Parks and Recreation Department website or Facebook page.
"So here at the Joe Marmo/Wayne Lehto Ice Arena, we opened to the core user groups on Tuesday, September 5th," Horsley said. "And what made that possible this year compared to previous seasons is the joint partnership that we did with our user group."
The core user groups consist of the Idaho Falls Spud Kings Hockey team which is part of the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), the Idaho Falls Adult Hockey League, the Idaho Falls Youth Hockey League and the Idaho Falls Figure Skating Club.
"When our team starts working out before the season starts and that means access to ice in Idaho Falls as early as possible in September. The city of Idaho Falls Parks Department was very accommodating and they worked with us. We did provide a contribution to the city, along with some other organizations, user groups, to help insulate the toughest park ice rink," Idaho Falls Spud Kings President Kevin Greene said.
The Joe Marmo/Wayne Lehto Ice Arena at Tautphaus Park is a practice facility for the Spud Kings when the Mountain America Center is used for other events.