Isanti Ice Arena faces cold financial future

The COVID- 19 pandemic has affected the financial stability of everyone, and the local ice arena has not been excluded. Isanti Ice Arena, a privately owned nonprofit organization, has felt the hardship of the last several months.

“We had to close for three months due to the pandemic, but bills still had to be paid,” said General Manager JP Wright, adding the arena has lost about $20,000 due to the pandemic.

The arena posted a plea for donations on the Isanti Ice Arena Facebook page in August. “As you’re all aware, COVID-19 has been, and is, a pain in everyone’s butt. Whether it’s been emotionally, physically, or financially, we’re all feeling it,” the post started.

It went on to say, “We also don’t know what’s happening in the next couple months. We could have a normal hockey season, and we could also have another outbreak, which would ultimately lead to another shut down of ice arenas around the state. With this uncertainty, the possibility of having no hockey season, the arena’s future is in jeopardy.”

The post explained the arena’s nonprofit status, which means it gets no funding from local taxpayers. It relies on local businesses and sponsorships to fund upgrades and repairs.

“We’ve already had multiple businesses drop their sponsorships due to COVID-19, which has made it even tougher for us,” the post continued. “The next two months will be telling about our future.”

Wright said about $300 was raised through the post, but that is not nearly enough to continue to fund the arena. Another fundraiser posted two weeks ago under the Facebook page Isanti Ice Arena Relief Fund has eight donors thus far, raising $325.

The arena has also applied for CARES Act grants through both the city and county, with the city of Isanti giving $5,000 from their CARES Act money.

The arena will also lose some of its revenue due to the new co-op between Cambridge-Isanti, North Branch, and St. Francis for girls high school hockey. Whereas the previous co-op between Cambridge-Isanti, Mora, and Pine City practiced and played all their home games at the Isanti Ice Arena, the new co-op will split practices and games between Isanti and East Bethel. Lost revenue will come in the form of lost ice rentals for those games and practices, as well as lost concession stand revenue.

Those who have questions, or would like to make a donation, should contact the arena at isantiicearena@gmail.com or send a donation to the arena at PO Box 214, Isanti, MN 55040.

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