Deal on the table to fund DC ice arena renovation

Board members of the non profit which runs the Fort Dupont Ice Arena say they have agreed with Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and several DC Council members to find a way to fund a long-planned renovation for the rink.

The renovation would add a second rink and make much-needed upgrades to the only indoor rink open to the public in the District, supporters of the arena say.

Monday it looked like the renovation was in trouble after Bowser announced she would reappropriate $21 million that had been allotted for the project in order to make emergency repairs to heating systems at several DC schools.

The board says between now and a special DC council meeting on February 19, they are committed to getting back the funds the mayor originally promised.

Ward 7 council member Vince Gray introduced legislation to guarantee the funding.

Sydney Stropes plays hockey for the Northern Virginia Icedogs, which rents ice at the arena, allowing for funding for the rink's free programs for neighborhood children.

Stropes says she's happy to see the rink renovation move forward.

"I think hockey's changed my life in so many amazing ways. The fact that other people will be able to be impacted and help their lives grow by hockey I think it's absolutely amazing and a worthy cause," Stropes said.

"We're over the moon. We're really excited because it shows we've come to this agreement and everyone understands that this is all about the kids," said Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena board member Tomeka Gueory.

The arena offers kids programs including skating lessons, Special Olympics events, hockey and synchronized skating to children, especially those from Wards 7 and 8.

The Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena have also committed to fundraising at least $5 million for the project.