Mansfield News

Ice arena tripped up again

Mansfield’s Dr Pepper StarCenter finds itself on thin ice again after a $1.8 million donation from Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital at Arlington fell through.

Monday’s announcement likely kills the $15 million project, for now, but there’s a groundswell of support in Mansfield and surrounding communities for an ice rink for hockey, figure skating and other ice sports.

The StarCenter was proposed next to the FieldHouse USA project at U.S. 287 and East Broad Street.

Supporters posted the somber news to a Facebook page Monday night.

“Unfortunately the city was trying, but ultimately unable, to arrange its funding in order to sign the negotiated and approved StarCenter development and operating agreement,” the message read.

Mayor David Cook said it’s not a “viable opportunity” for Baylor at this time. He thanked Baylor for its interest in the project.

The donation was critical for the 80,000-square-foot, dual ice rink that would be operated by Dallas Stars Enterprises and owned by the city of Mansfield.

The Arlington hospital revived the project three weeks ago with an offer to donate money to the Mansfield school district. It breaks down to $500,000 in upfront money to help the city pay for the construction and $1.3 million in annual payments over five years for shared use. The donation would have allowed school district to use the ice rink for field trips and given district employees the ability to skate free at the StarCenter.

Originally, the Dallas Stars had asked the school district to pay the money.

Opposition from taxpayers and school board trustees, who were uneasy about using education funds for a private, for-profit venture, prompted the city to drop the project.

Downtown project

The Mansfield City Council gave initial approval for a zoning change and various incentives for the Backyard project in downtown Mansfield. The project includes three restaurants, Twisted Root, Quincy’s Chicken Shack and a third unnamed concept, with a backyard full of games, seating and a bar.

The proposal is planned just south of Mellow Mushroom on South Main Street. The plan is to extend the public parking lot behind Mellow Mushroom and put a trailhead for the Pond Branch Linear Park, which connects to existing trails at Katherine Rose Memorial Park.

Incentives include:

  • A $143,000 contribution from the Mansfield Economic Development Corp. to pay for drainage on the site.
  • The MEDC is also paying half the cost for a parking lot lease with Heritage Baptist Church, which would allow customers to park at the church, which is across East Broad Street.
  • The Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corp. will contribute $50,000 for landscaping and irrigation of the trail connection to the Pond Branch trail.
  • The downtown Tax Increment Finance Zone will contribute $212,168 toward the project to help pay for the public parking lot.
  • The council also voted unanimously to have the MPFDC spend $17,832 to purchase land for the Pond Branch Linear Park trail.