, the Grand Rapids Griffins
hockey team's practice facility (30 Coldbrook NE, Grand Rapids), is more than just an ice rink. It's a space where hundreds of West Michigan's underprivileged youth can play hockey and other ice-related sports while having access to computers, tutoring programs, and lessons on healthy lifestyles.
To that end, the planned addition of a 400-square-foot multipurpose room for tutoring, educational programming, and off-ice conditioning kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday.
The Griffins Youth Foundation
will foot half of the $150,000 price tag of the addition. The remainder comes from proceeds from Griff's IceHouse, a professional ice rink owned by the City of Grand Rapids and managed by DP Fox Sports & Entertainment.
"Because of the cost of this type of sport, it makes it more prohibitive [for lower-income youth to participate]," says Tom Almonte, assistant to the city manager. "The Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation makes it possible for students to not only participate in the sport, but to receive tutoring and educational help, all in one place. At the end of the year after paying expenses, the facility has had retained earnings every year. We are recycling the money into the facility and no tax dollars are going into it."
Almonte says the addition, which will extend off the facility's northeast corner, is a "win/win/win, not just for the city because we haven't had to use any tax dollars, but for the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation because they can accomplish their mission. And DP Fox Sports will be able to continue to showcase this as one of the top facilities in the region."
Construction is slated to begin today, with completion expected in April 2013.
Source: Tom Almonte, City of Grand Rapids
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor