Jefferson City ice arena starting to recover from multiple floods

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JEFFERSON CITY – The aftermath of flooding at the Washington Park Ice Arena in Jefferson City has cost skaters time and the city money.

The ice arena re-opened during the first weekend of October, but some more renovations are needed, such as player benches, flooring and lobby work.

The arena is the only rink in central Missouri and the city recognizes how significant that is.

“This is kind of a very unique facility, for central Missouri and Jefferson City. It is the only ice arena in central Missouri. People come from all over central Missouri to use this facility, and it’s an important facility for economic growth for the community,” said Recreation Facilities and Special Services Division Director Phil Stiles.

The rink, though, saw little use during the August and September months due to flooding.

Youth hockey teams were left without ice during that time, and so was the MU hockey team.

“It’s affected us a lot because Jefferson City ice rink is the only rink that is near Columbia. The next closest rink is Wentzville back towards St. Louis, so it has been pretty hard for us to get onto the ice and stay competitive,” MU hockey player Brendan Wilson said.

Jefferson City was also hurt from the rink’s closings.

Stiles said, “Weekends we host youth hockey tournaments. Jefferson City can see an economic impact of well over $500,000, if not more. So, a venue like this is important to the community and the economy of the community.”

However, with the rink re-opening, Wilson doesn't think closings will affect him and his team anymore.

"This is the only time this has really happened to them so it’s just a very unfortunate series of events,' he said.

He said, "We look forward getting our home games started back there.” 

Stiles said parents of youth hockey teams have been very helpful and patient with the rink during the cleanup process.