On Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena signed an agreement which will secure the $21 million of public funding that was promised to Fort Dupont in 2014 to make repairs to their current rink and build a new two-rink facility.
The agreement comes with a compromise for both sides.
Bowser, who sparked the funding crisis in late January with her proposal to reallocate the funds promised to Fort Dupont, will get to spend the $21 million now. The $21 million makes up a significant portion of the $54 million that Bowser needs to fund critical HVAC and roof repairs at dozens of DC public schools, as well as make renovations to school athletic facilities.
Under the agreement signed on Tuesday, Bowser has promised to return the $21 million to Fort Dupont in a future budget, though there are no definitive details on how that will be accomplished. Her previous proposal included no plans to return those funds to Fort Dupont.
Also under the agreement, Friends of Fort Dupont now has a deadline to raise the $5 million in total private fundraising that it is obligated to contribute to the project. Out of the total $5 million, at least $3 million must be raised by February 2020. If they meet that deadline, construction on the new rink can begin in October 2020 while the remaining $2 million is being raised.
A GoFundMe started by Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and the MSE Foundation has raised over $434,600 so far. The Leonsis family, the NHL, and MSE Foundation each contributed $100,000 to the cause.
Kim Davis, the NHL’s executive vice president in charge of social impact, growth, and legislative affairs spoke about the NHL’s commitment to Fort Dupont at an event earlier this month and cited it as “an example of restoring ice in a place where the infrastructure is failing, the economics aren’t there–putting support around that is important to our sport.”
Fort Dupont is Washington DC’s only public indoor ice rink and serves over 3,000 children in the community through programs such as Kids on Ice, which teaches kids to skate for free. Alex Ovechkin brought the Stanley Cup to Fort Dupont last summer.
Chairman of the Fort Dupont Board of Directors Willem Polak says Fort Dupont will now focus its energy and support on the “steep” task of raising $3 million by next February.
“The new two-rink arena has been a dream for the Fort Dupont Ice Arena kids and their families for years,” Polak said in a statement. “This agreement with the District of Columbia now puts the new rink on a clear, even if steep, path for becoming a reality.”
Headline photo: @Capitals
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