GREAT FALLS – “Anybody who comes up here, the second you drive in you can tell why we need to re-do the parking lot,” said Teresa Gunn who is the Great Falls Community Ice Foundation President.
Gunn said this is approximately the Great Falls Ice Plex 10th year in operation and nothing has been done to the parking lot since it opened.
The parking lot is full of pot holes along with a ditch which was the result of digging for electrical wires for new outdoor lights.
Gunn said, “When it gets slushy, people get out of their cars and step in puddles and it’s not fun to drive through or walk through.”
They would love to pave the parking lot, but as a nonprofit and knowing that the cost would be around half a million dollars, they would just be happy by making it better.
At the minimum, they want to put down about half a foot of asphalt millings to fill in the worst of the pot holes, which is approximated to cost between $30,000 and $40,000.
Eventually, they would also like to re-pave the main driveway that leads into the parking lot.
The Great Falls Ice Plex is a popular place. The Americans and the University of Providence hockey teams practice and host games there. Youth and adult hockey leagues also practice there along with the Great Falls Figure Skating Club. There are also designated days for open skate sessions.
On Thursdays, Eagle Mount has their sled hockey program. For people in wheelchairs that need to get through the parking lot, it can be tough.
Gunn said they simply just want to make it a better experience for people that come and use the facility.
The have applied for a grant from the Montana Department of Tourism but have been denied.
All money needed for the parking lot resurfacing project will need to be fundraised.
When you eat at Panda Express on Jaunary 8th, 20 percent of sales will be given to the Ice Plex when you show the event flyer on Facebook or using the promo code 256611 when ordering online.
There will also be another fundraiser at Café Rio at the end of January and will be announced on the Great Falls Ice Plex Facebook.
All funds raised at the second annual Brooms & Brews Broomball tournament on March 23rd will also go towards the parking lot.
The Ice Plex is run by the Great Falls Community Ice Foundation, which can be donated to at any time.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News