Editor’s note: The following letters have been printed by request.
Dear Mayor Cannata, City Councilors, City Administrator Dicklich:
We are writing on behalf of the Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors regarding the Hibbing Memorial Building.
We are fortunate to have this beautiful and historic building available to community members and visitors and our board is strongly in favor of the city developing and funding a master plan which will detail future improvements and expansions.
This iconic landmark is part of the fabric of our community and an important part of our economic future.
As a Chamber of Commerce, we realize the Memorial Building’s importance as an economic generator. Not only do locals enjoy the facility, but the activities and events bring guests from all over the world to Hibbing. This creates a positive economic impact as these visitors tend to shop, eat, buy gas and stay in hotels while here.
Also as our local businesses strive to recruit new employees and their families, those potential community members are looking for sports and wellness amenities that a modern multi-use facility could provide.
Our Chamber, other organizations, individuals and businesses are in need of a larger modern event venue to hold conventions, tournaments, weddings, community gatherings, wellness activities, concerts, shows and other events. These activities will create additional economic activity that would breathe new life into the downtown and the surrounding area.
In order for Hibbing to stay competitive with other communities when negotiating for events, there is an increased need for a state of the art, sports, event and recreational facility.
All across Minnesota communities are realizing the value of improving, retrofitting and expanding their community centers, arenas and sports facilities. We do not need to look far to see this. Both Grand Rapids and Virginia have been working on improving their arenas and sports facilities.
Finally, there is immeasurable value in the process of developing a master plan. This will create a healthy community conversation on the future of the Memorial Building and will foster ownership and support that will be needed in finding funding for the cost of the improvements or expansion.
We, the Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce, will do all that we can in partnership with the city, citizens, businesses and other community organizations to support the development of the master plan.
Thank you for listening and moving forward together.
Chair of the Board
City Council Members,
On behalf of the Hibbing Chisholm Youth Hockey Association (HCYHA) we would like to enthusiastically support the proposed south entrance and locker room expansions for the Memorial Building.
These first-phase improvements are much needed to maintain the dignity and functionality of this historic, community treasure.
We also strongly support the long-range, master plan that has been proposed for the facility that includes potential for a second, multi-purpose ice sheet and expanded wellness facilities to serve the community.
HCYHA currently uses around 200 hours of ice time at the Memorial Building each year. Many youth hockey teams come from around the state to play hockey in this historic venue and with them bring families who stay in our local hotels and eat at our restaurants.
An additional ice sheet would expand this economic benefit as has been repeatedly recognized in the Grand Rapids area with their recent Civic Center expansions.
In addition to our current demand for the facility, HCYHA has potential for greater demand in the future as the remaining life of the Fairgrounds Arena (our primary facility) is unknown. This facility is undersized and past its useful life.
Longterm the HCYHA would welcome a second ice sheet and expanded facilities at the Memorial Building complex and commit to sustained use of them by HCYHA. We see mutual benefit in the continuation and expansion of the strong relationship that already exists between the city and Youth Hockey.
With great appreciation and understanding of the deep hockey roots within this community, we strongly feel that any investment in this wonderful facility will yield great returns for Hibbing.
We ask for and appreciate your support as council members for this important work and will provide support as needed to help move this project forward.