A community-wide effort to raise funds needed to enclose the Cass Park Arena is underway under the auspices of the Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau (FIYB), the nonprofit organization that exists to facilitate support for the Ithaca Youth Bureau (IYB), according to FIYB President Jeff Love and IYB Director Liz Vance. Fully enclosing the arena includes modernization while preserving its traditional charm. The enclosure will make the rink more efficient, extend the ice skating season, and improve conditions for spectators and all users year round.
The Cass Park Arena Enclosure Campaign’s goal of $1 million supports upgrades to the city-owned and managed facility making it more sustainable and successful, according to Mary Grainger, FIYB volunteer who is coordinating the fundraising effort. “Cass Park is now a four-season community resource that was first opened in 1972 as an open-air ice rink,” said Grainger, who encourages everyone who has benefited from its almost 45 years of “fun, fitness and friendships” to participate in the campaign.
Community groups that want to join the effort to support the Cass Park Arena Enclosure Campaign are getting involved, too. FIYB and the Ithaca League of Women Rollers will co-sponsor two Chicken BBQs in the Cass Park lot starting at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 12 and Friday, August 26. ($10 for full chicken dinner with beans, potatoes and dessert; $6 for half chicken). These meals will be available until 8:00 p.m. unless all food is purchased earlier.
The Enclose Cass Extravaganza is being planned for Saturday, November 5 with all proceeds benefitting the Cass Park Arena Enclosure Campaign. Partners include Ithaca Youth Hockey Association, Tompkins Girls Hockey Association and Ithaca Adult Hockey Association. Skate-a-thon participants can get donations for each lap they skate starting at 2:30 p.m. Broom Ball games for youth and adults will run through the evening. There’ll be refreshments, prize drawings and a silent auction, too.
Information about the capital project and about ways to get involved is available at http://www.friendsiyb.org/cass as well as on Facebook as “Cass Park Campaign” and Twitter @CampaignforCass. Gifts of all sizes will be appreciated to the Cass Park Campaign; donations to FIYB, an independent 501c3 corporation, are tax deductible. Individuals, businesses and organizations can choose to make pledges of gifts to be paid over three years; donors will be recognized for their support including the chance to “name” designated areas. Mail can be sent to Cass Park Campaign c/o Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau, PO Box 4198, Ithaca, NY 14852.
Another way to contribute to the campaign is through the online nonprofit fundraising website run by GiveGab. Gifts can be made through this portal, and it offers a platform that supports individuals or groups interested in being “fundraising champions”. https://www.givegab.com/nonprofits/friends-of-ithaca-youth-bureau/campaigns/cass-park-needs-community-support
Cass Park Manager Jim Dalterio has been overseeing this spring and summer’s roof and ceiling renovation project funded by the City of Ithaca. This work was essential to make the building safe, and it is the first step in enclosing the arena. Construction of the full enclosure could begin as soon as 2017 depending on the level of community support shown this year.
Dalterio describes how much more efficient operations will be once enclosed, and how he anticipates increased economic impact once Cass Park can extend the ice skating season and improve seating for spectators. While there are many advantages of a functional enclosure, he is committed to maintaining the iconic character and traditional style.
In 2016, Cass Park Arena is the only open air rink remaining in upstate New York. The enclosure will provide: dehumidified “conditioned” air; ventilation, insulation, and adaptations for climate change; longer season for ice surface; improved conditions for spectators and skaters; and additional opportunities for rental income year-round. After the enclosure project is funded, there is a vision for an addition to the lobby and new locker rooms.
Grainger expressed that “It’s time for community at large to be supportive of the capital improvements needed for this facility so access can continue for future generations and for today’s users.” To participate, contact Mary Grainger, email@example.com, 607-280-4380.