STEVE SCOTT, Pioneer Press
March 23, 2005

Already facing a deadline for next winter's skating season, Roseville will proceed with an engineering study to recommend the best remedy for the disabled John Rose Minnesota Oval.

City staffers pushed for weeks to get the City Council to hire engineers in time to allow for possible restoration of the speed-skating rink's faulty refrigeration system."Which route we go will determine whether we can be up and going by next season," said Parks and Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke. "We've gotten a lot of free advice, which we really appreciate. We're at the point now where we need to get somebody to commit to a possible solution."

The City Council approved a contract with Stevens Engineers of Hudson, Wis., for a cost not to exceed $28,500.

"Speed skating has brought a lot of economic impact into the city of Roseville," said Scott Nelson, vice chairman of a task force looking into the Oval's long-term financial viability. "If we don't do something quickly, we lose another year of economic impact."

The council had delayed acting earlier until the advisory committee could begin deciding how the rink will be paid for in the future. The Oval requires about a $100,000 annual operating subsidy from the city.

Among the task force's questions is whether sources outside the city might be tapped to support the Oval.

"We have to find a way to get revenue from the region into it," Nelson said. "But we need to know if we can get it fixed because that will affect future business. These groups need to know if they can put a date on a calendar."

The Oval -- a 110,000-square-foot rink that holds world speed-skating events as well as local hockey and bandy clubs -- operated this past season with naturally flooded ice.

The council's options include replacing tubes in the chiller, doing without artificial ice, replacing the entire chiller or overhauling the refrigeration system.

Steve Scott may be reached at 651-228-5526 or

The city of Roseville is seeking public comment on the future of the John Rose Minnesota Oval. The Parks and Recreation Web site at has a link to the Roseville Skating Center Oval Task Force.

Author: STEVE SCOTT, Pioneer Press

2005 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.