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Local teen hosting presentation regarding Columbus Ice project tonight

November 16, 2018

A project that would bring an ice skating rink to Columbus is still in the process of raising funds to make a local teen’s vision of offering winter fun to the community a reality.

At 6:30 tonight, Columbus High School senior Elizabeth Blaser is scheduled to present her Columbus Ice project to area community members interested in learning more about the effort that’s slated for completion – and use – in 2019 on property located on the west side of CHS.

The gathering is set to take place at Urban Farm Boutique, 3121 13th St. Store owner Patti Stuthman said that her business is partnering with area vendors to raffle off a gift basket valued at $500 to the night’s winner. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the store ($3 for one, $5 for two and $10 for five).

In addition to the raffle, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy petite dessert treats being provided by Pat Mueller, whose cooking specialty is utilized at the Bistro on the Loup restaurant inside Columbus’ Ramada Hotel & River’s Edge Conference Center.

“We love being part of the community, and when I saw that somebody – Elizabeth – was doing something like this, I wanted to help out,” Stuthman said. “We’ve done fundraisers in the past for Big Pals Little Pals and Center for Survivors, and I thought that this was a worthy project to be a part of. So I reached out and asked if we could help out in some type of way.”

As of this month, Blaser said she has raised nearly $28,000 in cash donations funneled through the 501(c)3 nonprofit Columbus Public Schools Foundation, with her eyes set on a grand total of just under $94,000. That would cover construction costs of an onsite warming shelter and hooking up water and sewer lines.

In addition, she said she has received an assortment of donated services, estimating the project has benefited from more than $16,000 of in-kind materials provided and more than $30,000 of in-kind labor.

The project, which began as a 4-H Diamond Clover Level 6 project in winter 2015, calls for a 1,280-square-foot warming shelter and full-size ice rink – the size of two regulation hockey rinks. The warming shelter, with an estimated 120-person occupancy, will include a viewing window, electrical heat, benches and restroom.

The depression of the already-dug rink, with its basin visible through a layer of grass, currently provides onlookers with a glimpse of the rink’s shell that will house 18-24 inches of ice from late November through February, weather permitting.

To place the rink on the district-owned plot of land, Blaser received approval through the Columbus Public Schools Board of Education. The district will also utilize 30 percent of the warming shelter for year-round maintenance storage, project plans show.

The City of Columbus has also shown its support by issuing a letter committing itself to the maintaining and caring for the ice once the warming shelter is built. This includes filling the basin with water once weather conditions allow it to freeze and periodically sweeping and flooding the rink to ensure for ideal, safe skating conditions.

Blaser said she’s excited to have this platform to share with the community how her project is moving along.

“It’s so humbling that people from the community can see the end goal for this project and have the confidence that me, as a youth in this community, has the potential and now hopefully the means to make a project like this come to fruition,” Blaser said Tuesday evening.

Those interested in learning more about the evening at Urban Farm Boutique are encouraged to contact Stuthman at 402-276-2217. The store owner added that extended shopping hours will be available until 8 p.m.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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