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7/17/2014 7:00:00 AM
Leavenworth Ice Pavilion tapped as a top regional project
File photo
This is an artist rendering of the Ice Pavilion project, which could be located in the Festhalle parking lot.

File photo
This is an artist rendering of the Ice Pavilion project, which could be located in the Festhalle parking lot.
Ian Dunn
Editor

The North Central Washington Economic Development District has selected the Leavenworth Ice Pavilion as one of the top projects in the region. These are projects considered to be of regional economic significance for Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan Counties.

NCWEDD annually ranks the top projects for the region, according the Jennifer Korfiatis, administrator, NCWEDD.

"In February, we put the call out and say we are soliciting projects in NCW that organizations or cities feel are of economic significance," Korfiatis said. "So, we get submissions that way. They are reviewed and ranked by a committee. That's how we end up with our results."

The committee first starts with a letter of intent, which is used to screen projects they feel are a good fit to make a full recommendation. This year, Korfiatis said they started with 11 letters of intent.

Of those 11, only four went through and made the applications. The committee uses about 20 different metrics to rank the projects, considering value to the community, job creation potential, along with regional and economic impact for the project.

"It came through the Ski Heritage Foundation," Korfiatis said of the Ice Pavilion project. "This has been on our radar for awhile. I've been in several meetings with them and the city. I was aware of the project. I told them they really should go through this process and they did. As it turns out, they were scored number one."

Korfiatis said the committee likes the projects with the ability to build on an existing industry, notably tourism and the shoulder season.

"In the tourism, that is what we are all trying to do, extend the shoulder seasons rather than pack more people into our region when we are already full of visitors," she said. "I think they really liked that."

The other projects ranked by the committee were the Washington Department of Transportation Headquarter relocation and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Columbia Terminal Relocation. The NCWEDD typically does not provide funding for projects, rather they help projects find the funding they need.

"What we can do and what we will be doing for the ice pavilion is helping them find funding. What they are asking us to do find the gap funding they need, what they've raised versus what it costs to do this. That's what we will be helping with," she said. "They have a little bit of housekeeping to do, in terms of developing the project. Once everybody is on the same page in terms of where the pavilion should be located and all that, then we can come in and help them find the funding."

Korfiatis said they recently finished working on the Winthrop Ice Arena, helping them find the funding to operate year round. As for the Leavenworth project, she will examine where they have asked for funding and who has money to lend.

The Ski Hill Heritage Foundation can ask for help from the NCWEDD anytime between now and next June.

"I told them, once you guys get your ducks in a row and questions answered and everybody is on the same page, then we are ready when you are. I am in a wait-to-hear mode with them," she said.

Ski Hill Heritage Foundation Board President Tony Keyser said they are delighted to achieve the recognition at that level. He said the NCWEDD can see the potential economic impact in North Central Washington.

"I think it is significant in terms of the amount of user groups that would use this space. It would attract people from all different walks of life from different regions in PNW," Keyser said. "Other projects are important to businesses, but the ice pavilion reaches out to all age groups and all user groups and residents."

The hope, Keyser said, is this will get the attention of city, county and state leaders. He feels it is important because the NCWEDD has recognized the ice pavilion will have an economic impact.

In terms of the upcoming feasibility study on the project, commissioned by the city of Leavenworth, Keyser said they have been looking forward to this for sometime.

"We think it is a good step to gather an independent audit of the actual feasibility for this project. What will it bring to the community? What are the benefits for jobs? What benefits for income to this community for tax dollars? And what benefits for the town itself with increased tourism? And improving the quality of life for people in town," he said. "We're excited because this independent feasibility study will demonstrate to all the community leaders at the city, county and state level this project can be realized."

Keyser said he is confident the feasibility study will prove the sustainability of this project.

"It will prove this will work. This will help the community gain confidence this will work. It is all scalable. The feasibility study will capture benefit, location and cost," he said. "Those three elements will direct the project to place where it is comfortable in its model."

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or editor@leavenworthecho.com.





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