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Cookeville Ice Facility Deemed Currently Unfeasible

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Ice Facility Deemed Currently Unfeasible

A potential ice facility for Cookeville was deemed unfeasible to do at this time.

After hearing a feasibility study presentation from planning group Lose Design, City Manager James Mills said that it’s not possible to do both an ice and an aquatics facility simultaneously.

“We’ve only got so much money that we can spend and we can borrow,” Mills said. “And there’s no way we could afford to do both ice and aquatic. It’s impossible. Unless you want to raise property tax significantly. Now you could do that, but that’s not my take on the council.”

Lose Design Landscape Architecture Vice President Josh Gulick said that a projected facility would be some 200,000 feet at a cost of about $28 million, including two ice sheets, skate rentals, and food vending. He said that although after five years the city would see about $3 million in direct spending, they would still be operating at a $1.1 million deficit.

“You’re going to spend about $30 million out of the gate to build the facility, which is about your debt capacity currently,” Gulick said. “So in order to get closer to the facility paying for itself, we’d have to start looking at, ‘What do those strategic partnerships look like?’ So we did have conversations with the Preds, and we talked a little bit about, ‘What is your current capacity for taking on another facility from an operations standpoint,’ and they were favorable but it’s a lot to ask. It would max out your debt capacity, it would not be breaking even or paying for itself. It would be an awesome center for the community, I think everyone would love it, but from a feasibility standpoint, it’s going to be tough to afford.”

Gulick said that if the ice center was something the city really wanted to move forward, it would need 100 percent focus. He said that there are other consultants that can come in and evaluate how to make the project closer to breaking even, but for now, it’s a big ask for the city.

Mills said that he believes this study will hold for a while, but that he believes the aquatics facility is the number one want in the community. He said that while there is a desire for the ice facility, it’s not possible to do both.


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