A new arena in Baudette? Is the typical response when the discussion starts.   Afterwards there are a plethora of questions to be answered. Ultimately the answer is yes, a new arena in Baudette, what a great thing for the communities’ future and its children. For large and small employers in the County it is a huge benefit to have new and up to date facilities for families of potential employees or anyone who is considering moving to the area. To small business and retailers in the area it can generate more traffic. Every small town needs growth or they fade away, here is an opportunity to keep forward progress. “It’s more than just ice” has become the motto. In addition to moving the community forward it opens the door to opportunities beyond ice skating and hockey.

But what is wrong with the existing arena? Face facts the existing arena will still have a purpose and continued use is part of the plan. We cannot hide the fact there are problems with the existing arena. Those problems have been identified and are being worked on in the best manner possible within its operating methods. Their Board does a great job with what they have to work with.

Is ice time shortage the issue? No, not yet anyway. Having a new up to date facility with great amenities will bring many other opportunities to the area. It will provide a year around venue currently not available in Baudette. With a new facility the opportunity for tournaments sparks a whole new interest. There are seasonal down times when plenty of lodging is available in Baudette and the hockey crowd is going full swing.   With fulltime planning and actions towards taking advantage of these opportunities everyone in the community benefits.

How is it possible, how can Lake of the Woods build another arena? Due to an extremely generous and anonymous donor, it is possible. There is $5,000,000.00 set a side and ready for the project to begin. There is an estimated $1,500,000.00 still needed for the project to be completed. But the generosity continues, there is already a trust set up which will cover any shortages of yearly operating costs. The new facility will be managed by a board. It will be run as a business and have a fulltime onsite manager employed year around to create opportunities and manage schedules.

Who will own it? The 501c3 organization will manage the facility. The Lake of the Woods International Arena Board Inc will have the ownership of the facility. EIN# 47-2602214. Current board members are Mike Shulz, Derek Olson, John Sonstergard, Nick Anthony and Keith Block. There is some great hockey knowledge and business leadership on the board and they are ready to make this go.

When can this happen? Based on the results of fund raising ground breaking could happen this spring and games and events would start this fall.

What will it look like, what’s in it? Final designs are not yet complete, although it is looking great. The current plan is to build the new facility adjacent to the softball fields of the school. There will be plenty of locker rooms and a great indoor viewing area with unobstructed views of the rink. It will be built with the option of adding a second rink at a later date. The bleacher area in the rink will be heated. There are possible plans for a workout room with rink side viewing so parents would be able to get their own workout while the kids are enjoying the ice.

How can I help? As we pointed out earlier fund raising is yet to be done.   There is also a lot of work to be completed. The generous start to the project covers 77% of the money needed for this great facility. Not only are donations an investment in the community, whenever feasible donated funds will be spent with local contractors. There will be many items like ground work, parking lots, landscape, parking lot lighting, painting, flooring, signage and other potential items to be done locally.

How do I find out more? An open house will be held on Thursday February 25th at The Moose Lodge in Baudette. From 4:30 to 7:00 PM the Lake of the Woods International Arena Board will be there with plans and information. Also they will answer any questions or help with donation paper work. Border View Lodge will be providing Ceasar salad, pasta salad, Walleye Chowder, Duck and Wild Rice soup, French Dip Sliders, Smokey Chicken Sliders, Cuban Sliders, mini cheese pizza’s and desserts for all who show up. See ya at the Moose!

For more details, visit there website by clicking here.

Baudette Hockey Arena   Hockey Arean MN

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