February winter festival to help raise funds for ice arena
POLSON — The Mission Valley Ice Arena Association is cutting back its fundraising target in order to try to bring an ice arena into fruition sooner. Hilary Lozar, chairwoman of the association, said the goal was recently scaled back from $4 million to $2 million.
“We realized Polson doesn’t need a $4 million rink,” she said, adding that the association is about to start “some serious fundraising.”
The association has raised about $14,000 so far and spent $4,000 of that.
Lozar calls this seed money that the organization plans to use to host fundraising events, such as a winter festival in February. That event could include such things as sledding, snowball fights and a snowman competition at a city park. Another event that could be held there is a broomball competition, which features a hockey-like game with a stick and ball but no ice. With that in mind, Lozar noted the association recently purchased some broomball equipment.
Mike Maddy, owner of the Ridgewater development on the east side of Polson, has set aside an adequate parcel of land west of the Mission Valley Aquatic Center for an ice rink.
Lozar’s mother, Carmine Mowbray, who also serves as the organization’s treasurer, has provided a $25,000 matching grant. Once the association raises $25,000, the matching grant will be awarded, Lozar said.
In addition, an anonymous donor has also agreed to contribute $1 million once the group raises $1 million, Lozar said.
There are vibrant hockey communities in Missoula and Whitefish and a growing one in Kalispell. These include players ages 8 to 75.
Lozar and her husband, Mike, and father in law, Steve, travel to Missoula at least once a week to play hockey, she said. Some 11 people from the Mission Valley currently participate in hockey in Missoula, she added.
The idea to raise funds for an ice rink in Polson sprouted a few years ago, she said.
The target audience is kids who want to try something new.
“We once had a nice outdoor rink” in Polson, she said. “It was jam packed every time I went (as a child).” The city-owned rink closed after water use became an issue, she said.
“I know if we provide a structure, it will be very popular,” she said. “We want to provide transportation grants for kids all the way from St. Ignatius to Rollins.”
To help or for more information, email Lozar at hillozar@ gmail.com or call 406-207- 2998.