Original article by Jon Rosen, LA Kings Insider
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and Los Angeles Kings President and Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), solidifying a new public-private partnership to build and operate the ‘Reseda Ice Rink,’ the City’s first ever year-round recreational ice facility.
“I am proud to further cement the bond between Los Angeles and our iconic Kings as we move forward to create this unique and historic facility in the West Valley,” said Councilmember Blumenfield. “Thanks to the entire Kings organizations for your partnership on this project and for their dedication to our City, ensuring that future generations of Angelenos will have access to learn and love hockey and skating.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the LA Kings to continue to grow the game of hockey in Los Angeles,” said Robitaille. “We would like to thank Councilmember Blumenfield and Reseda for their hard work and diligent effort in helping make this a reality. We look forward to seeing the shovel in the dirt and watching the Reseda Ice Rink come to fruition. The facility is something that will be enjoyed by the community for a long, long time.”
Blumenfield and Robitaille were joined by other integral partners including Kelly Cheeseman, COO of the Los Angeles Kings and AEG Sports; and Michael Shull, General Manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks. Representing American Sports Entertainment Company (ASEC), the largest independent owner/operator of ice rink facilities in the United States, were Chance Berman and Juliette Harton.
“One of the core missions of the LA Kings is to be a strong and active presence and partner in our community, and the Kings and AEG playing an integral part of the Reseda Ice Rink initiative is something we believe will greatly benefit not only those who love the game of hockey but young athletes in particular,” said Cheeseman. “The location is ideal and really fits a need as there is great demand for ice in Los Angeles as our game continues to expand and increase in popularity.”
“Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s vision along with the legacy of the Los Angeles Kings makes this project monumental,” said Department of Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull. “The City’s relationship with sports conducted on ice will forever be changed through the introduction of new opportunities for athleticism and recreation open to youth who may one day be a professional hockey player or figure skater.”
While thinking about how to best serve the community, and turning over every rock to find the resources to do it, Councilmember Blumenfield realized that voter approved Proposition K funds were put aside in the 1990’s specifically for an ice rink. However, the funds were not enough to build a first class rink. Consequently, Blumenfield sought out the Los Angeles Kings to partner on potential plans for the facility. This will leverage the Prop K funds and create a true destination location for all Angelenos.
At multiple community meetings to gather input from the surrounding neighbors and greater Reseda area, Blumenfield presented concepts for Reseda Ice Rink in line with these opportunities. What were derelict buildings, and are now vacant lots, will one day become a family-friendly attraction bringing people to Sherman Way.
Blumenfield has been trying to get these specific parcels, specifically located at 18128 and 18210 Sherman Way, to be productively used for redevelopment since 2009. They were owned by the CRA and slated for redevelopment. However, after the California legislature passed needed reforms of the CRA, which were authored by then-Assemblymember Blumenfield, the CRA agencies sued the State to undo the reforms. The lawsuit was a foolish gamble and resulted in the courts invalidating Blumenfield’s reform bill which led to the elimination of the CRA and set these properties on a course to be sold off. However, Blumenfield then authored AB 1484, which gave successor agencies, like the City of Los Angeles, the power to put together a development deal for certain properties that were identified as having important public use. Without this action, the parcels would have been sold to the highest bidder for development without consideration of the public good or community vision. The CRA wind down bill was authored with these properties in mind.
This project is a key part of Blumenfield’s Reseda Rising initiative which is a multi-front effort to reinvest in the community and enhance Reseda as a center for entertainment and small business. Recently, Blumenfield hosted the Reseda Rising Art Walk which drew thousands of Angelenos to Sherman Way for an evening of art, live music and diverse food.
The $26 million ice facility will be funded by Proposition K, the Kings and through other City resources including ‘excess CRA bond funds.’ When completed, the facility will be owned by the Department of Recreation and Parks and managed by the Kings and ASEC which currently operates 19 facilities across the nation including the training centers for the LA Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. It will serve kids and residents of the West Valley and the entire region.