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Ice in Paradise Project Lands Property for Skating Rink

Camino Real Marketplace developer donates 1.3 acres at Girsh Park for facility

The coolest recreation facility between Oxnard and San Jose took a major step closer to reality Friday with the formal donation of land to house what will become a state-of-the-art ice rink in Goleta.

National Hockey League Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille joined a number of locals assembled at Girsh Park, 7050 Phelps Road, to see the unveiling of the planned community rink. The project, called Ice in Paradise, is an undertaking of the nonprofit Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association.

Mayor Eric Onnen thanked Mark Linehan and Kimberly Schizas, principals of Wynmark Co., developer of Camino Real Marketplace across the street, for donating the 1.3-acre property for the facility.

The concept for the rink has been around since the mid-1990s. Over the past few years, GSBISA members commissioned a feasibility study and conducted research to develop a workable model for the project. Officials say the rink will be a permanent asset within the community for generations to come.

Robitaille, president of business operations for the Los Angeles Kings and a GSBISA advisory board member, spoke in support of the project and the kids who may train there to become future Olympic skaters or NHL All-Stars. Also on hand were a number of parents with their children, who commute 70 miles round trip three to four days a week for figure skating and ice hockey practice in Oxnard. This dedicated group could not be happier with the announcement; more ice time and less freeway driving was the buzz heard over and over and the ceremony.

With more than $2.2 million raised thus far, ground breaking will commence at the $6 million benchmark. Ada Conner, GSBISA’s campaign director, said she is hopeful that that threshold will be achieved in the near future and that construction will be completed by late 2011. The one big question is which South Coast philanthropist will step “onto the ice” with the naming rights to the facility, she said, adding that there are several levels of naming rights available for an assortment of rink amenities.

(Presidio Sports video)

Click here for more information on Ice in Paradise and the Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association. Click here to make a donation to the Ice in Paradise project through Santa Barbara-based givezooks!

Noozhawk contributing photographer John Conroy is the proud parent of Lily Conroy, 11, who is an active member of the U.S. Figure Skating Association and currently skates with the Channel Islands Figure Skating Club. Lily’s mom, Terri, is one of the mothers commuting 70 miles four days a week to get Lily to skating practice.

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