City ready to show off Furniture and Things Community Event Center at public open house on Sept. 11

by Jim Boyle

Editor

The folks at the Furniture and Things Community Event Center in Elk River like nothing more than seeing people use their facility and the smiles that follow.

The number of people coming into the facility has been growing, and the smiles are getting even wider as people begin to use the facility as it was intended.

The public is invited to join local leaders and city staff for the long-anticipated Furniture and Things Community Event Center grand opening, ribbon cutting and open house celebration, on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 2-5 p.m.

Attendees will have an opportunity to tour the facility, learn operational details, and celebrate with community partners.

The event includes giveaways, free open skating, bingo with cash payouts and more.

The Furniture and Things Community Event Center was completed in September 2020 as part of the Active Elk River park and recreation improvement plan. Because of pandemic health and safety concerns, use of the facility had been limited and the ribbon cutting and open house was put on hold.

The center is on the same site as the former Elk River Ice Arena, 1000 School St., and in addition to replacing and enhancing the two full-sized ice sheets previously found there, the facility is now home to a 30,000-square-foot turf field house, walking tracks, the Elk River Senior Activity Center, Serrano Brothers Café, retail space, as well as event and meeting rooms.

Tim Dalton, the facility’s superintendent, said the challenge now is to get the community to realize this facility is a whole lot more than an ice arena.

“Our mission is to brand this beyond an ice arena,” Dalton said. “It was an ice arena, but now it’s that and all these new pieces.

“The senior center, the turf, the rooms, the banquet space and all of those things.

“It’s not that the ice stuff isn’t exciting, but the challenge for us is to elevate this beyond an ice arena. It is a community facility.”

As hard as it was to delay a celebration, Dalton said his thought was to hold off and have the grand opening when it can be grand.

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