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Ice Dome proposed near Hilton

Duane Johnson

An avid sports fan, Jerry Cail is completely committed to acquiring the funds to build a potentially profitable winter sports venue in the Reno-Sparks area.

Cail, owner of Bear Industries Printing & Publishing in Sparks and chairman of the Nevada Commission on Sports, diligently promotes building the Reno Ice Dome 500.

It would include a 5,000-seat ice arena along with recreational, athletic training and medical treatment facilities.

Cost of the venue’s construction is estimated at $28 million.

It would be built on four-plus acres of land owned by the Reno Hilton just north of the hotel.

If financial goals are met, Cail said groundbreaking is set for July of this year with completion by November of 2004.

But Cail is still trying to raise the money.

Cail believes the Ice Dome can be a profitable venture for the Reno-Lake Tahoe area.

Tim Maland, president of the Hilton agreed.

“We would love to have the Ice Dome on our property,” Maland said.

“We (the Hilton) would benefit from all the activity at the facility.”

The Ice Dome idea hatched when Cail and others saw a burgeoning interest in winter sports such as hockey and curling and recreational ice activity in the area.

“Reno is in sad need of an ice arena, so I took the idea on,” Cail said.

By contrast, the Ice Dome could easily house winter sports camps while also providing a rink for leisure skating.

The leisure ice area would be sandwiched between two Olympic-sized rinks.

One would serve as an arena that could be converted to suit a variety of functions.

Professional sports franchises in hockey, arena football and possibly basketball could use the Ice Dome.

Larry Leasure, an Idaho businessman, has agreed to bring a currently inactive minor league hockey team to play its home games in the Ice Dome.

The team could begin play during the West Coast Hockey League 2004-2005 season.

The venue also could be used for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

A group in the Reno-Tahoe area hopes to bid for the games.

The complex’s adaptability is a major asset, Cail said.

“With 5,000 seats it’s enough for a feeder area like (Reno),” he said.

“It will be designed so it can be expandable.”

The leisure ice skating rink would be surrounded by artificial props to create a winter park setting.

A retractable roof would open to bring in natural light.

“There’s no other facility of its kind in the world,” Cail said.

Both the rinks and the leisure area could be combined to an event necessitates a large area to be accommodated.

Once it’s built, the facility would need to host an event once a week or activities 180 days a year to pay for itself.

“A facility like this has to have a constant income stream,” Cail said.

Before construction can begin, Cail said about $15 million needs to be raised.

The Ice Dome would be owned and operated by Nevada Youth Sports Development Inc., a non-profit organization supported by the NCOS.

Cail has tried to sell corporations on the idea that donations are tax deductible.

Plus, corporations can have perks such as naming rights for something as simple as a media room.

Although he has had meetings with representatives from large corporations such as Coca-Cola and Southwest Airlines, formal agreements have yet to be reached.

Cail said there’s a possibility the project could be financed with debt, but the NCOS prefers not to do it that way.

“We are still looking for corporations to partner up with us,” Cail said.

“It could handle a debt service of about $9 million.

We don’t want to have to do that, but we could.”

A feasibility study estimates the Ice Dome could net between $800,000 and $900,000 a year from gross revenues of more than $3.5 million in its first three years.

Above all, Cail still wants to provide a place an inexpensive one at that for children and adults to enjoy ice activities.

“We want to make it inexpensive enough, so that no kid can be turned away,” Cail said.

“All we can do is give it our best shot.” (For more information or to contribute, contact Cail at 775-358-8822.)


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