~ Correction: It was originally reported that the ice pavilion could be located at the site of the old town corporation yard — former site of the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe — but town staff clarified they are only considering a portion of that parcel as a possible location to relocate the recreation district corporation yard to. If this move is implemented, it could free up the space of the current recreation district corporation yard in Truckee River Regional Park for the ice rink pavilion.
Over the last few years the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District has steadily knocked projects off its docket — the aquatic center was completed two years ago after a down-to-the-wire funding struggle, the community park on Church Street is currently in the process of being renovated, and this spring marks a pivotal point for an idea a decade-and-a-half in the making — the Truckee Tahoe Community Ice Pavilion. To bring the project to fruition, local agencies are conducting an intricate collaborative effort keeping in mind other community projects being bandied about by advocates.
The ice pavilion is intended as a year-round covered facility that would offer a regulation-size ice rink during the winter, and then host dozens of larger summer and shoulder season community events for which regional venues are in short supply. The project currently hinges on one important detail — a land use swap with the Town of Truckee for a space just downriver from the Truckee River Regional Park.
“The key to the whole project is to be able to move the rec district corp yard down to the old town corp yard, at which point we would take that facility overlooking the Railyard and the [Truckee] River to build the new ice and event pavilion,” said Kevin Murphy, former TDRPD director and advocate for the pavilion. He said the facility could be located at the site of the current rink owned by the TDRPD at the regional park, just expanded, but that is a plan B solution they hope to avoid. According to TDRPD General Manager Steve Randall, the main constraint on the current site is space — they could build a regulation-sized rink but would have almost no room for amenities.
The land agreement depends upon a multi-agency site study the town is currently finalizing. It assesses the feasibility of using a town-owned parcel overlooking the river, which used to host the town’s corp yard, for the pavilion. It assesses the feasibility of relocating the current rec district corp yard in the Truckee River Regional Park to the old town corp yard where the humane society used to be located, in order to free up space for the ice pavilion to be located in a larger space in the regional park. The study was to be completed on Jan. 1, but Truckee Town Manager Jeff Loux said the hired consultants dropped the ball over the holidays and the report will likely be available in the coming weeks. A town council hearing date for the pavilion is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22.
“Study is even an overblown word, it’s really just a quick site-planning exercise to see if all that stuff fits,” Loux said, mentioning there are multiple community projects looking for potential sites, so the town, the TDRPD, the airport district and others are looking to the report to see how they can potentially combine and best utilize land resources. One project he believes is furthest along the process is a new community library — for which local nonprofit Friends of the Truckee Library has advocated for years. An important component of a potential deal with TDRPD would involve setting aside some of the rec district’s current corp yard on Brockway Road across from the 7-11 as a placeholder for a library to be built in the future.
On Jan. 22, the main question before the town council will be whether they want to participate further and open up the land overlooking the river. After that it would be up to the planning commission to award use permits for the pavilion and library. Once built, the ice pavilion would be operated by the TDRPD and the library by Nevada County. Last year, the council voted to explore possibilities of taking over control of the Truckee Library, but as of this writing this has not occurred.
Although the pavilion team has hired MWA Architects for the project, Murphy said the team will wait until the town’s decision to start the official design process and move forward with estimations. “It’s kind of pointless to waste money [if] that deal doesn’t go,” Murphy said. If everything goes as planned, he says construction could begin by December 2021.
“There’s nothing I can do about the wheels of government … [but] I think all of us feel that we need a gathering spot,” Murphy said.