The Brainerd Civic Center broke ground today to start the first phase of their nearly two million-dollar facelift. The top priority is making the Civic Center more accessible to the community.
Brainerd Amateur Hockey Foundation president, Eric Fischer, says, “It started again with the need for the facility to be acceptable to the handicapped and so from there it kind of expanded to you know lets do this the right way let’s not just piece mail it, you know let’s do it and make the facility something that the community can be proud of, increase the usability of the facility, and kind of make it a community asset that everyone can be proud of.”
The project will include adding an elevator to help fans to the second floor viewing area and more handicap accessibility.
Adam Rees, Central Regional Essentia Health president, says, “I think that’s one of the most exciting things, the commitment to all people including those who need to have something more handicapped accessible. So the improvements here are really bringing the entire community together.”
During phase one, the Civic Center will move the workout, dryland area to the second-floor. The goal is to expand upon that off-ice training area during the second phase in the future to incorporate not just hockey and figure skating training, but also to include other sports like baseball and soccer.
Brained girls hockey director, Jim Brau, says, “And that’s crucial for the kids to workout and just get better.”
Brainerd hockey player, Sophie Robinson, says, “And you get stronger and faster so you get better at hockey. So if you get more space you can practice more.”
Rees says, “Everyone loves hockey, so that’s clearly important, but we’re going to be looking at other activities too. And how do we get the everyday person like myself more physically fit.”
The hope is to draw more tournaments, more non-athletic events and tourists to Brainerd Lakes Area.
Brau says, “I’m just really excited to see this project be done. It’s kind of been a long time coming. And hopefully we can be right there with the rest of the state of the art facilities in the state and be a destination for tourists to spend more money here.”
The Civic Center says they expect to complete phase one by November to be ready for when the puck drops on the high school season this December.
- Lakeland News