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The Ithaca Youth Bureau (IYB) has been awarded $50,000 Tourism Capital Grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program in support of the Cass Park Enclosure Campaign. The Tourism Program awards grants, funded by the local hotel room occupancy tax, to initiatives that promote economic development and enhance local quality of life. Cass Park is a hub of recreation for local Tompkins County residents and out-of-town visitors.
“Our vision is to fully enclose the Cass Park Ice Rink to retain the arena’s iconic and traditional charm while also making the facility more sustainable and successful. Enclosing the Cass Park Rink will provide for efficient operations and increased economic impact,” explained Liz Klohmann, director of the IYB.
The County’s Strategic Tourism Planning Board has recently focused on growing recreational tourism and winter tourism. The grant reviewers commented, "Youth hockey is huge. An enclosed rink will allow more tournaments to be held here in the winter, and the teams stay overnight and spend money at restaurants and shopping.”
The City of Ithaca began efforts to improve conditions at Cass Rink in 2010 by replacing the original floor and refrigeration system. In 2016 the City invested in a new roof, ceiling repairs and new lighting. The planned enclosure will provide: a dehumidified “conditioned space”; ventilation, insulation, and adaptations for climate change; longer season for ice skating and sports; consistent and improved conditions for spectators and skaters; and additional opportunities to host events throughout the year.
The Youth Bureau has been working in conjunction with the Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau (FIYB) to identify sources of funding for the $1.4 million project. The FIYB kicked off the Cass Park Arena Enclosure Campaign in 2016. “We have hosted fundraising events and received donations from the community. With more plans in the works and the recent Tourism Award to the Youth Bureau, community involvement and enthusiasm is growing,” expressed Mary Grainger, campaign coordinator.
To learn more about the project and get involved see the link below: