You probably remember The Link, the ambitious project that would have renovated and added much needed space to the Three Rivers Convention Center. It would have also remodeled the aging Toyota Center, and would have been paid for by a sales tax. Now, a revamped version of the project will be in front of voters not too far down the road.

Last summer, the plan was narrowly defeated by about 2.5 percent last August in the primary, and because of that close defeat, supporters and officials want to try again. But this time, the proposal, valued at $35 million dollars, would include building a third ice rink by the Toyota Center and Arena.

Another view of The Link (The Link)
Another view of The Link (The Link)

In short, the Tri-Cities has exploded as a hub of youth, junior and other hockey activity. Numerous tournaments and events draw as many as 30 teams a weekend, and book well over 700 rooms, according news reports.

The new plan would accomplish the goals of The Link, but add the ice. It's needed, say Tri-City Amateur Hockey Association officials, because TRAC is considering closing it's aging ice after it's contract with the TCAHA expires end of 2018. If that happens, it would severely damage the huge hockey program in the region. It's already pressed for ice time, and more space is needed.

The Link originally called for 50,000 more square feet by joining the Three Rivers Building to the Toyota Center, refurbish much of the aging facility, and add a performing arts theater capable of seating over 3,000 people. It would attract a number of smaller events and performances.

The project would be paid for by a sales that that would add 2 cents to the cost of a purchase of $10, or 2/10ths of a percent cost increase.

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