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Park improvements could spell end of Dillon Ice Castles at newly redone Town Park

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 20:38:50-04

DILLON, Colo. — A government advisory group in Dillon doesn’t think the well-known and well-attended Dillon Ice Castles should be built in the Town Park moving forward, citing worries about damage to the park, which is currently being redone.

A member of the Dillon Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee confirmed to Denver7 that the group has concerns about bringing the castles back to the location where they’ve been for the last two years, since that park is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation.

“We don’t want to put all the money in and have it be destroyed and waste all that money,” Dillon Town Council member Karen Kaminski said.

Kaminski is not a member of the advisory committee, but as a member of the council, she will be one of the people who decides on the future of the castles.

The ice castles have been a boom for the town’s tourism numbers over the last few years, drawing in tens of thousands of people each winter, with an increase in sales tax revenue logged at 12% last year. But they have also caused damage to the Town Park in which they were built the last two years.

Denver7 went 360 on the topic in October of 2018, before the castles were built for the winter. Opponents then argued the damage wasn’t worth the revenue it brought in. Supporters said the attraction has been a positive for the town, both as something to do and a money maker for the town.

“The Ice Castles is a wonderfully magically big deal for this town,” Dillon’s director of economic development Kerstin Anderson said in October.

The Town of Dillon is currently spending millions of dollars on a revamp to the Town Park as part of their master plan, which will include a multi-use ball field to be installed in the footprint of the ice castles. The question is: after spending all that money, is the benefit of having the ice castles in the park worth the damage those 25 million pounds of ice can do?

“The big concern is, if we’ve put the money into doing the field we don’t want to tear up the field again,” Kaminski said.

A town spokesperson tells Denver7 that field is not scheduled to be installed before winter this year, which could leave the door open to one more year of the castles in the Town Park. Members of the company who build and run the castles will be in Dillon on July 2 to pitch their return this winter.

After this winter, the future of their location becomes a lot less clear.

“Might look at another place, not sure if another one would work,” Kaminski said. “Lots of conversations to have.”