Maryland Heights backs new Blues practice facility near casino … –

Maryland Heights has picked up where St. Louis County left off on a new, four-rink ice sports complex that would serve as a new practice facility for the St. Louis Blues.

In a unanimous vote Monday, the Maryland Heights City Council authorized city staff to hammer out an agreement with the St. Louis Legacy Ice Foundation, the nonprofit that would operate the ice complex.

The city’s move kept alive a project that seemed to be floundering under the direction of St. Louis County, which for the last year had worked with the Ice Foundation to build on a site in Creve Coeur Lake Park.

Now, the Ice Foundation is in negotiations to buy land next to the Hollywood Casino and Hotel from a real estate investment trust, GLP Capital. Little has changed in the project’s design, but the new location means the project no longer needs to secure federal approval, which it did for the Creve Coeur Lake Park location.

The county had initially backed the project and had spent over $100,000 through its economic development arms for legal fees and environmental studies, even allowing grading on the park site this year. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s office said the Ice Foundation has agreed to reimburse the county for its expenses on the project.

Park advocates and others protested that the mostly indoor facility was an inappropriate use for the park and that it hadn’t even secured federal approval for the project. Last month project backers said they had failed to sway the National Park Service on the Creve Coeur Lake Park site.

St. Louis County had been poised to issue bonds, repaid with revenue from rent at the ice complex, to finance the project. Though Stenger is still supportive of the project, Ice Foundation President Patrick Quinn said

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