Plan for Creve Coeur ice arena dropped, complex moves to Maryland Heights

Developers of a proposed ice arena and practice complex for the St. Louis Blues in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park announced Friday they will build the facility at a new site in Maryland Heights.

The proposed 250,000-square-foot, four-rink St. Louis Ice Center will still be built as originally envisioned, the Legacy Ice Foundation said in a news release. The ice arena was set to be constructed in a 40-acre section of Creve Coeur Park, also in Maryland Heights, until the plan met opposition from federal officials and county residents who wanted the park space to remain untouched.

Legacy Ice, a nonprofit organization, made the decision due to delays in approval of the county park site by the U.S. National Park Service. The organization is building the site with partial funding from the Blues, but the arena will also be open to the public and to area youth hockey teams who packed County Council meetings this summer in support of the plan.

The new site may not be the first choice and the Park Service delays may be disappointing, but the new site is “spectacular,” Legacy Ice Foundation President Patrick Quinn stated in the release.

“The location changes, but our vision remains the same,” Quinn said.

Blues CEO and President Chris Zimmerman thanked County Executive Steve Stenger for working on the plan. Stenger was a strong advocate for the site in Creve Coeur Park.

“Today’s news represents a continuation of our commitment to support youth and amateur ice sports in the St. Louis region, and we are optimistic that it will be located in Maryland Heights, still in St. Louis County, where it can best serve our region,” Zimmerman said. “It’s good news all around.”

The plan met opposition from federal officials and county residents who believed the park, the county’s largest, should be left alone.

The council voted for a non-binding resolution earlier this fall to stop grading construction at the site since the plan had not yet gained the necessary federal approval.

In a statement, Stenger said he still supports the hockey facility and said that all commitments to improving Creve Coeur Park will still be honored by the Legacy Ice Foundation.

“Exploring a new location in Maryland Heights has my complete support, as do the people from the Legacy Ice Foundation and the St. Louis Blues who first brought us the opportunity to imagine what might be possible at the Creve Coeur Lake Park location,” Stenger said. “There would only be regret if the project were not to happen at all. But it appears that will not be the case. Be assured that I will offer any assistance I can as we see this project transition from paper to reality.”