Last week, the Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association celebrated the donation of 1.3 acres of land next to Girsh Park in Goleta for the establishment of an indoor ice skating rink.

The facility will consist of a full-sized rink and a junior rink, along with seating, rooms for events, food concession stands, a rental and skate shop and lockers. Once completed, “Ice in Paradise” will be the only ice skating rink between Oxnard and San Jose.

Girsh Park, where the ice rink will be built, is just south of the Camino Real Marketplace, between Phelps Road and Santa Felicia Drive.

The GSBISA was formed in 2003 in order to provide skating opportunities for the community. The organization has raised over $2.2 million for the rink and hopes to raise a total of $8 million.

Vice president of the GSBISA John Ewasiuk said the skating rink should open by winter of 2011.

“This is the time when the project comes out of the silent phase,” he said. “We will be working more with the community and individuals to raise a gigantic amount this year.”

UCSB Dean of Students Yonie Harris expressed support for the project because of its proximity to campus.

“With Isla Vista and the UCSB campus situated 13 miles from Santa Barbara, there has always been an issue of how to provide constructive recreation and entertainment for UCSB students,” she said. “We face a significant unmet need and I am certain that an ice skating rink will be a tremendous benefit to both the campus and the entire Goleta valley.”

The City of Goleta approved the establishment of an ice rink in 1997, but the project saw little progress until recently when land was provided by Wynmark Company principals Mark Linehan and Kimberly Schizas.

The rink has received endorsements from many local youth agencies and other groups, such as the Los Angeles Kings hockey team.

Luc Robitaille, Hockey Hall of Famer and president of Business Operations for the Kings, said the project is important to the team.

“It’s very special for us, the L.A. Kings, to be involved with this great opportunity,” said Robitaille, who serves on the Advisory Board for the GSBISA.

Ewasiuk said that the timing is right for construction of the rink because of the economic downturn.

“Our dollar will be stretched further because we can utilize low pricing as well as provide jobs,” he said. “We want to show the community that this project is viable, feasible and doable.”