The Murphy Family Foundation has agreed to increase its donation toward improvements at the Trail Kids Rink.
Last year the foundation announced a contribution of $370,000 US toward improvements to turn the rink into a year-round facility and to offer free public and sensory-friendly skating programs.
Now they have agreed to make another contribution of $503,800 US toward additional projects costs and community programming. In all, this will mean $703,800 US ($945,000 Cdn) to infrastructure improvements this year and $170,000 US ($227,460 Cdn) to support programming over the next six years.
“When we think about the updates to the Kids Rink, all we can visualize is a great expanse of possibilities and opportunities that a facility of this calibre can offer the Greater Trail area,” foundation director Madelyn Murphy-Homer said in a news release.
“We are committed as a foundation to this project, and we cannot wait to see how the community will utilize this updated facility.”
The project will start in June and will continue throughout the summer. The Kids Rink will see a new concrete floor to help maintain ice during the summer, new arena boards, and improvements to the viewing area adjacent to the ice surface. Trail Parks and Recreation will continue to work with the foundation on enhanced free programming options to the community.
Murphy-Homer said in an interview that the initial project costs also came in higher than expected and the needs of the rink, “after careful consideration and review ended up being greater than anticipated.”
She said the goal is to make the rink the only place in the Kootenays with year-round ice, so kids don’t have to travel outside of the region to train in the off season. The plans originally called for a sand floor, which would have been cheaper, but Murphy-Homer said a concrete floor offers many more opportunities, allowing the space to be used even if there is no ice in.
Murphy-Homer said the foundation initially approached the city about the project, and when it turned out it would cost more than initially thought, the foundation agreed to pick up the tab.
“We love Trail and time and time again we’ve been wowed by the welcome we’ve had in this community. We really view this project and the ability to continue to work with the city and continue the partnership as a privilege and an honor.”
Murphy-Homer said she likes to think of the opportunities that year-round ice will offer not just in the short term but in 10, 15, or 20 years.
“We are so incredibly grateful for the Murphy Family Foundation’s ongoing support and dedication to our youth, community, and recreational facilities,” said Mayor Colleen Jones.
“The additional funding will allow the Kids Rink improvement project to occur with minimal financial burden to the city or citizens.”
The Murphy Family Foundation, based in Minnesota, focuses on supporting organizations dedicated to youth development. It has supported many initiatives in Trail since Rich and Annie Murphy bought the Trail Smoke Eaters in 2016.
The Kids Rink was built in 1953 and has a 70-by-147 foot ice surface. It’s used extensively for skating, hockey, and private rentals.