SARTELL -- The Sartell Hockey Association has secured the some additional funding from the city, as well as the ability to bond, to help build a second sheet of ice.

During Monday's meeting, the city council approved 4-1 to provide the funding through half-cent sales tax dollars, waiving city fees and applying for a conduit bond.

It's a bond the arena can do to leverage the city's behalf and leveraging the city's bond rating, along with tax exempt status, which will allow their interest rate to be fixed for a 20-year bond. Expectation is we can work together and save substantial amounts of interest cost for their funding.

Sartell Mayor Ryan Fitzthum says there has been a lot of community support for the project and the organization, which privately has raised $3-million of their $6.2-million goal.

Last month the organization requested the city fund $130,000 for 20 years to help cover operational gaps as the scope of the project changed from just a sheet of ice to a multi-sport complex.

Council Member Mike Chisum was the lone "No" vote. He says his vote isn't because he doesn't support the project, but that he can't justify putting up the $450,000 in half-cent sales tax money right now given the uncertainty from the pandemic.

I would have preferred to be able to call things back and see what would have happened after the conduit bond. That's not an option so I will be voting no for that reason.

The Sartell Hockey Association is in the final phase of their fundraising efforts.

The goal is still to start construction this fall with hopes of opening the new arena in late March.

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