Grant to smooth way for ice oval 
June 17, 2005 

A $1 million grant from the Guidant Foundation is expected to bring skaters back to the John Rose Oval in Roseville this winter.

The speedskating, hockey, bandy and recreational skating rink had since 1993 been the world's largest sheet of refrigerated ice until a chiller broke in October, resulting in a short, natural-ice-only season.

The grant from Guidant Corp.'s charitable arm is the largest gift ever given to the city of Roseville, said Mayor Craig Klausing.

A portion of the grant will cover the estimated $300,000 repair bill and maintenance; the balance will be used to help establish an endowment for the oval. With artificial ice, the oval's season runs from about mid-November to early March.

Built with city and state funds for $4 million, the oval has been a regional winter sports attraction but a funding challenge in recent years for the city, said Lonnie Brokke, parks and recreation director. The Guidant grant, which will actually be presented to the Friends of the Oval Foundation, will likely reduce the city's $100,000 annual subsidy, Brokke said. The rink is used for aggressive bicycling and skateboarding in the summer.

Guidant Corp., one of the world's leading manufacturers of defibrillators, pacemakers and other medical devices, is based in Indianapolis; its cardiac rhythm management division is in Arden Hills. Guidant employees who use the skating rink had suggested that the foundation make a grant to help revive the oval, said a company spokesman who said he did not speak for the foundation. Foundation officials were not available.

In March, the foundation withdrew an offer of $1 million to support a bandshell in Shoreview, citing community conflict. The company spokesman said there was no connection between that action and the Roseville grant

In 2003, the foundation made $11.4 million in grants in communities where the company operates, according to federal tax records.

Bill McAuliffe

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