GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT Mankato Curling Club back in the hack

By John Chindvall, Board Member, Mankato Curling Club

Mankato, Minn., is back with a brand new ice plant and floor. Trough the efforts of seemingly endless fundraising, a sizeable donation from a very generous anonymous benefactor, and with the help and cooperation of the City of Mankato, the club was able to purchase a new, custom-built ice plant for the five-sheet rink, all new pipes and headers, and a new concrete floor. Te club is now back curling regularly. Te Mankato Curling Club, originally known


as the Caledonian Curling Club, was organized in 1903 and is one of the oldest clubs in the state of Minnesota. In 1965 the club sold its aging building and the land to the City of Mankato so a new high school (now known as Mankato West) could be built. As part of the deal, the city built a new mixed-use building, which the club would lease from the city for six months of the year at a very favorable rate. In 1965 the concrete floor was poured with pipes encased in the concrete, an ice plant was installed, and the club has called that building home ever since. In the nearly 50 years since, the Mankato

Curling club has been home to Minnesota state champions, national champions, world med- alists, and has hosted national championship events, national challenge rounds, and Olympic Team Trial challenge rounds, as well as school, corporate, and other group outings. It also is home to one of the larger junior programs in the country, which has produced several high-level

ſter several years of ice issues, includ- ing having no ice for the past two sea- sons, the Mankato Curling Club in

teams and individuals and, more importantly, has exposed many young people to the sport of curling. Te 200-plus members of the Mankato Curling Club enjoy five sheets of dedicated curl- ing ice from mid-October to mid-April. For more than 40 years, the original ice plant

and floor were maintained and repaired here and there without major issues. But as the equipment aged, the repairs began to increase in both fre- quency and cost. Te compressor and chiller be- came unreliable, leaks and blockages in the pipes became more frequent, and finally in 2011 the original ice plant was retired. Replacing it was a lightly used system from a curling club in Colo- rado that had closed and was procured for next to nothing. However, that system was not installed properly and began to fail almost immediately. Te club invested a lot of money and took on debt to try and repair and salvage the ice plant, but in 2014 ice could no longer be made. And for two years, the Mankato Curling Club was a club without curling. Fortunately Mankato has several curling

clubs within an hour’s drive: the Heather Curl- ing Club in Mapleton, the Owatonna Curling Club in Owatonna, and the new Chaska Curling Center in Chaska. Tese clubs were very wel- coming of the “displaced” Mankato curlers, al- lowing Mankato Curling Club members to pay discounted or reciprocity dues, have a dedicated Mankato Curling Club league night, and played host to some of the Mankato Curling Club’s usual bonspiels. But the goal was always to bring back curling to Mankato. During those two ice-less years (2014–16),

the club did a lot of fundraising and the Board of Directors met with the City of Mankato with

increased frequency. Finally, an agreement was reached this last summer with the city for build- ing improvements and financial assistance, helped in part by the passage of a local sales tax extension on the November ballot specifically meant to provide public funds for recreational facilities and programs,

including the curling

club. Tat set in motion a flurry of activity to raise more funds as well as put together a plan to re-open the club. An anonymous donor came forward and made a matching pledge of up to $100,000 if another $100,000 could be raised by the end of July. Te club not only reached that goal, but exceeded it with almost $125,000 raised by the deadline and received the full $100,000 matching pledge. Te club’s 501c3 tax-exempt status as a non-

profit organization was – and still is – crucial to the fundraising, allowing donations made to the club to be tax deductible to the donors. Te club also applied for and was awarded additional funds in the form of grants. Te total cost of the project will come to just

more than $500,000 when all is said and done, with the City of Mankato covering a sizable por- tion of that amount in the form of the new con- crete floor. A low-interest loan from the City of Mankato to the Mankato Curling Club will cover the rest of the cost. It has been a long and painful journey, but the

Mankato Curling Club has stepped back into the hack. A large debt of gratitude is owed to the do- nors, volunteers, and the City of Mankato to get the club to this point. Te club has been around for 113 years and, though the last two years cer- tainly tested its’ resolve, it will emerge ready to curl for another 100. Q

From Page 6: New dedicated ice projects

you start thinking about building and also for re- pairs and emergencies once the dedicated facility is in operation. Get local businesses and community groups

excited about the project. Generate interest through social media and local newspaper and television coverage. Dakota set aside a league that was reserved for local chamber of commerce members only. It was the first league to sell out in

the new facility! While the project needs a strong leadership

team, it is important to get as many club mem- bers involved as possible. Everyone can contrib- ute to a project in one way or another. Te key is finding the right combination of people to come together at the right time. Be flexible and prioritize. Most likely, all

projects will not be completed prior to opening. Focus on what you really need to complete (e.g., ice surface, restrooms). Everything else can come later.

Research grants and other funding oppor-

tunities in your community. Also, when talking to bankers, you need to be able to discuss your project in financial terms that they understand. Remember, this is a business transaction. Make sure to keep the curling culture alive.

Whether you have a dozen members or 1,000, ev- eryone should feel welcome. Interested in checking out these new facilities?

Log onto the clubs’ websites and social media pages to find out about their upcoming bonspiels and other club events. Q

USA Curling (( 7

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40