December 20, 2005 – Posted at 5:12 p.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR -- If you freeze it...they will come. That's the theory behind one Region 8 woman trying to get an ice skating rink built in Jonesboro. But it's an idea that's not thawing out financers.
If you want to hit the ice...get ready to drive. After ice skating rinks closed last year in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and in 2003 at The Mall of Memphis...the closest place to try your triple toe loop is an hour and a half from Jonesboro in South Haven, Mississippi.
“It's a long drive from here,” said Jennifer Kilmer, “We have kids from here in Jonesboro that make that drive, and make the drive with those other skaters, the other hockey players, clear out as far as Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama, just for ice...it's time to give them ice here.”
And that has become Kilmer's mission. The skater and coach started the non-profit organization Gr8 Sk8 (Great Skate).
“There is a lot of interest. The community itself, as a whole is thrilled about the possibility of the ice rink coming, and I’ve seen kid’s faces just light up, they're so excited,” said Kilmer.
Gr8 Sk8 needs a down payment of about $200,000 dollars to build a free standing facility in Jonesboro....but the total cost will be between $1 and $1.5 million.
“The financial institutions aren't real keen on bringing it here I think. They see it as a risky venture, and I don't know why,” said Kilmer.
But it should be a sound investment with 26 hockey teams in Memphis and 6 high school leagues in the area...and all fighting for ice time.
“We won't have any start up slow days...it's going to be hit the ground running, or hit the ice running immediately,” said Kilmer.