With a massive rehabilitation of the Stillwater Lift Bridge underway, Ice Castles officials say they must move the popular tourist attraction out of Lowell Park in downtown Stillwater.
Ice Castles owner Ryan Davis met with city officials on Monday to pitch a move to Bridgeview Park, south of downtown Stillwater, and the Stillwater City Council gave preliminary approval to the plan at its council meeting on Tuesday night.
Crews will begin building the ice castle as soon as possible, Davis said Tuesday night.
Bridgeview, the city’s newest park, is located between Minnesota 95 and the river, across from the Oasis Cafe. “We feel it will be successful,” Davis said. “The shape of it gives us a lot more flexibility with design, and we are excited about that.”
Mayor Ted Kozlowski said he hopes Ice Castles officials will consider a permanent move to Bridgeview Park.
“It’s a much larger site, and it’s right next to the (St. Croix) River,” Kozlowski said. “People can park downtown, get on the trail and walk there.”
Accessibility to the Lowell Park site will be limited this winter due to a $8.7 million makeover of the Stillwater Lift Bridge. The bridge will become part of a new 5-mile Loop Trail that will connect the lift bridge with the new St. Croix River bridge.
City staff several months ago recommended that the massive, shimmering ice castle be built in Bridgeview Park instead of Lowell Park.
The suggestion came after city officials received numerous complaints about the mess left behind during the melting process. Before the council last month approved a permit allowing Ice Castles to return and reuse Lowell Park this winter, they insisted upon a number of conditions demanding that the Utah-based company guarantee a faster and better cleanup.
About 100,000 people visited the Ice Castles in Lowell Park last winter.