Proposals to build a public ice rink near Ina Road and Interstate 10 in Marana are being sought by the Pima County Economic Development and Tourism Department, which expects proposals by Oct. 22.

Pima County is seeking proposals for the development, design, construction, operation and maintenance of an indoor public ice-skating rink, according to an Aug. 5 release. A pre-proposal conference for people and companies who are interested in developing the project is set for Tuesday, Aug. 25 in the seventh-floor conference room of the Pima County Economic Development and Tourism Department office.

A potential operator "would be responsible to secure all of the funding to build and operate" an ice facility, the release said.

Tucson has been without a public ice rink since April 2007. Hockey and figure skating supporters have been working toward a skating facility for the past two years.

"We have enough of a population in Tucson alone to handle a properly managed ice arena, and we also bring skaters in from all over Southern Arizona such as Bisbee, Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Green Valley, and even Mexico," said Gail Langley, president of the Tucson Figure Skating Club, in a release.

The proposed site is Ted Walker Park, located south of Ina and I-10 at 6775 N. Casa Grande Highway. The park is south of the Pima County Mike Jacob Sports Park. The name of the ice rink must include "Ted Walker Park."

The ice rink would be built on 10 allotted acres of county-owned property within the park. The county would allow the skating rink use under the conditions of a 25-year lease agreement.

Specifications for an ice rink include one or two sheets of ice. The facility would have locker rooms, skate rental, hockey programs, at least two hours a day of public skating, and skating lessons. Alcohol sales would be permitted, with proper licensure.

"Public / private partnerships such as this provide expanded recreational opportunities to our community and stimulate economic development without cost to taxpayers," said Chuck Huckelberry, Pima County administrator, in a release.

Ice-skating rinks in Tucson have come and gone over the years. The Iceland Arena on Speedway closed in 1987. Eight years later in 1995, Iceoplex opened near Speedway and Kolb. After expanding the single rink to two rinks in 1999, the operation was sold in 2004. Shortly after being under new management, the facility was closed for a couple months for repairs.

In the fall of 2006, the owners formed a new company and changed the name to The Ice Rink. After a financial struggle, the rink closed for good in April of 2007.

The Tucson Convention Center hosts University of Arizona Icecat hockey games. Youth and adult ice skating and hockey programs compete for ice time. The TCC is not open to the general public for skating except by arrangement.

According to Catherine Strickland, marketing and communications manager for Pima County Attractions, construction would be expected within six months of awarding a contract.

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