Ice rink dreams skate to sponsors

Jared Felkins • Updated Sep 8, 2017 at 8:00 AM

The option to install an ice rink at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon during the winter months is on the table for Wilson County residents, but the project needs sponsors to get skating. 

“A tender Tennessee Christmas. It sounds just about perfect, doesn’t it? The holidays are quickly approaching and always bring so much joy to our community,” said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto. “However, as the Amy Grant tune implies, our holidays here in Tennessee aren’t exactly a winter wonderland. We hard get any snow. This year, however, wouldn’t it be nice to have ice in Wilson County? An ice rink that is?”

The Ice Rink Project would be a holiday installation of an outdoor ice skating rink at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center for three months, beginning in November. The ice skating rink would allow Wilson County residents an interactive holiday experience with programming provided by the Nashville Predators. The three-month installation would not only allow residents to experience programming from Nashville’s beloved hockey team, but also allow entertainment and educational opportunities, Hutto said. 

“Wilson County was handpicked by the Nashville Predators Administration to play host to the attraction,” said Hutto. “The location of the James E Ward Agricultural Center, as well as the variety of large-scale events that have successfully taken place within its borders, was a major attractant to the Nashville Predators when deciding where to host this event. Not to mention, Wilson County is also home to the Music City Star, which hosted the Smashville Express earlier this year. The Nashville Predators fan base in Wilson County is strong, causing the desire for this type of amenity to be stronger.” 

But Hutto said without community support and partnerships from local businesses, Wilson County simply cannot offer the event. 

“Wilson County government and the Ag Center Committee feel as though the Ice Rink Project would be a great holiday attraction,” Hutto said. “However, tax dollars simply cannot be used to fund this type of event. Though Wilson County government wishes to provide all citizens the opportunity for a great quality-of-life experience through the Ice Rink Project, it cannot come to fruition without proper funding.” 

Hutto said the Ice Rink Project is an estimated $170,000 investment, which includes the cost of the assembly and maintenance of the ice rink, staffing, equipment, programming and skates. Because it’s a time sensitive opportunity, all funding has to be in place by Wednesday. 

Hutto said there are currently a variety of opportunities available for sponsorship. However, spaces are filling quickly and time is limited. 

Any business interested in becoming a partner in the Ice Rink Project may contact Charity Toombs, Ice Rink Project manager, at 615-450-3049 or email her at [email protected]  


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