Mansfield News

Council hears ice rink proposal

The Dallas Stars mascot made an appearance at Mansfield's City Council meeting Monday.
The Dallas Stars mascot made an appearance at Mansfield's City Council meeting Monday. Special to the News-Mirror

At Monday’s City Council meeting, the Dallas Stars presented plans for an 80,000-square-foot facility with two full-size skating rinks at the northeast corner of U.S. 287 and East Broad Street.

The Dr Pepper StarCenter in Mansfield would cost an estimated $14.5 million, said Jason Farris, COO of the Stars. Much like the FieldhouseUSA facility, under construction on the same site, this would be a public-private partnership with Mansfield paying for the construction cost. The city would own the building and lease it to the Dallas Stars.

In addition to hockey, the facility would have figure skating, curling, free skating, birthday parties and instructional skating classes.

Far from a done deal, the project still requires City Council approval.

Mayor David Cook thanked Farris for making the presentation and for the Dallas Stars’ interest in the city of Mansfield.

If it is approved, the Dallas Stars would chip in $2.1 million as prepaid rent. Over the course of the 28-year lease, the Stars would contribute $21 million to the community, Farris said.

The Dallas Stars already operate facilities in Euless, Frisco, Plano, Farmers Branch, McKinney and Richardson.

Not all of them have been successful, though, as the location in Duncanville closed in 2009 after being losing millions of dollars. It had opened in 2000.

Hockey jersey-clad supporters filled the council chambers and an adjacent overflow room. Nearly 100 of them signed cards in support of the StarsCenter. Several parents and a few players explained how they log hundreds of miles per week driving to hockey games around the area.

They want a chance to play on a true home ice rink. The facility will most resemble the StarCenter in McKinney. Each rink would be regulation size, 85 feet by 200 feet. The center will also feature seating areas for fans, locker rooms, rental spaces, food services, retail space and off-ice workout areas.

Jenny Conrad, a Mansfield mom and business owner, spearheaded the effort to bring a StarCenter to Mansfield. She said skaters constantly have to travel to other communities, including The Parks at Arlington mall.

“There’s only one sheet of ice in Arlington. An open building with windows, sunlight comes in and melts the ice,” Conrad said.

She added the mall doesn’t have proper dressing rooms. The other option is to drive to other Dr Pepper StarCenters.

After the presentation, council members gave their thoughts on the proposal.

Councilman Darryl Haynes said, “I think I can finally say, ‘I get it.’”

Councilman Larry Broseh said the intensity of this group has been incredible.

“As a businessman, I will tell you, it will all come down to what makes sense, not only emotionally but financially,” Broseh said. “You guys have done your very best and I believe you excel in your efforts of trying to convince us on what we should strive for.”

But Broseh said the council has to consider the 60,000 people who didn’t show up to the meeting.

With that in mind, Mansfield will have a second public hearing for the StarsCenter on Jan. 11.

This is not the first public- private partnership Mansfield has done.

Earlier this year, Mansfield partnered with FieldhouseUSA to build a 90,000-square-foot facility with eight basketball courts. The $12.9 million square-foot facility will be built at the northeast corner of East Broad Street and U.S. 287. It’s scheduled to open in October 2016. The day-to-day operations will be managed by Frisco-based FieldhouseUSA. The city will own that facility and FieldhouseUSA will lease it.

About 10 years ago, Mansfield did public private partnerships for both Big League Dreams for replica softball fields and Hawaiian Falls water park.

For the StarCenter deal, discussions with the city started 18 months ago and Farris is hopeful they can iron out the details of the agreement in 2016.

“We’re only here because of the citizens of Mansfield. This is an initiative of your residents,” Farris said. “We feel like we’ve embarked on a journey and it’s a journey that we hope is a long one.”

Lillian annexation approved

The Mansfield City Council breezed through the first vote to annex 158 acres for The Oaks neighborhood just southwest of the city. The proposal, which requires two more votes, calls for 163 homes just off Lillian Road south of West Broad Street.

A planned development zoning change was also approved.

The developer wants the land to become part of the city of Mansfield so it can receive city services.

When completed, the homes will generate an estimated $600,000 per year in city property taxes compared to the $400,000 cost to city services.

Development next to Mansfield High School

It’s a case of the chicken and the egg for a 12-acre site on Cannon Drive just east of Mansfield High School. The property owner wants planned development zoning for the land so he can market it to potential tenants, including a possible grocery store or gym. But with no firm plan in place, the council wanted more specific information on what would be built.

“We usually don’t write blank checks for that,” Haynes said.

Several council members indicated they would prefer to have high-end residential homes on that site, but the developer argued it wasn’t economically feasible.

After an hour of discussion, the council voted 5-2 to approve zoning change on first reading.

Councilwoman Wendy Burgess and Haynes voted against it.

Park honors the Mills

Cook got emotional as he announced the name of the new neighborhood park in the Spring Lakes Estates neighborhood would be Gary and Lucretia Mills Park. The name honors Lucretia Mills, longtime president of the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce and founder of the Keep Mansfield Beautiful Commission, and her husband of 49 years.

“This was an easy choice for all of us,” said Cook, who graduated from Mansfield High School with their daughter, Angelette. “I want to take the time to honor the work that’s been done by the Mills family.”

Cook presented Gary Mills with a Mansfield flag that flew over the city on the day Lucretia passed away.

Proper state title send-off

The Lake Ridge Eagles team bus is scheduled to head out Thursday evening on its way to the state final game in Houston. Cook said he wants to give the Eagles a “Friday Night Lights” send off, routing the bus through downtown Mansfield. He encourages everyone to come downtown to cheer on the players.