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A community-wide effort to raise funds needed to fully enclose the Cass Park Arena is in its second year under the auspices of the Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau (FIYB), the nonprofit organization that exists to facilitate support for the Ithaca Youth Bureau (IYB), announced FIYB President Jeff Love and IYB Director Liz Klohmann.

Two fundraising events are planned for this fall; committee members, event volunteers, event sponsors, and prize donors are needed as well as event participants. On Saturday, September 30, Celebrate Cass!, a festive 45th anniversary party for adults is planned at the Country Club of Ithaca. On Saturday, November 4, the second annual Enclose Cass Extravaganza will feature activities for participants of all ages.

Guests at Celebrate Cass! will enjoy a reception beginning at 6:00 pm followed by dinner and dessert. Music by The Blind Spots and dancing will continue until 11:00 pm. Tickets are available for individuals, couples and groups for the entire event; and also for the music and dancing component starting at 8:30 pm. A wide variety of prizes will be offered through Balloon Bursts, Silent Auction and Prize Package Raffle.

Enclose Cass Extravaganza in November at Cass Park will include a Skate-a-thon, Silent Auction, Bake Sale, Broomball, and Refreshments, all benefiting the enclosure capital project.

The Cass Park Campaign's goal of $1 million supports upgrades that retain the arena's traditional charm while making the city-owned and managed facility more sustainable and successful, according to Mary Grainger, FIYB volunteer who is coordinating the fundraising effort. "Cass Park is a four-season community resource that was first opened in November 1972 as an open-air ice rink," said Grainger, who encourages everyone who has benefited from its 45 years of "fun, fitness and friendships" to participate in the campaign and the events.

In 2017, Cass Park Arena is one of few open-air rinks remaining in upstate New York. The enclosure will provide: dehumidified 'conditioned' air; ventilation, insulation, and adaptations for climate change; longer season for ice surface; improved conditions for spectators and skaters; and additional opportunities for rental income year-round. After the enclosure project is funded, there is a vision for an addition to the lobby and new locker rooms.

Recreation Facilities Director and Cass Park Manager Jim Dalterio described the roof and ceiling renovation project funded by the City of Ithaca and completed in 2016: "This important project was needed first for the health and safety of arena users during all seasons, and also it was necessary before the glass enclosure could be built."

Dalterio also explains how much more efficient operations will be once enclosed, and how he anticipates increased economic impact once Cass Park can extend the ice skating season and improve seating for spectators. While there are many advantages of a functional enclosure, he is committed to maintaining the iconic character and style.

"It's time for community involvement in support of the important facility improvements," Grainger said. "We need to improve Cass Park Arena conditions and ensure access future generations and for today's users."

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