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Work begins on St. Paul ice palace

An artist's rendering of the St. Paul ice palace. Submitted drawing

ST. PAUL -- It’s official. A ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday morning, Jan. 9,  marked the start of the 2018 St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace in Rice Park (though some construction had started last weekend).

Blocks of ice weighing about 500 pounds each were harvested from Green Lake near Spicer, Minn., last week and are arriving at Rice Park for construction to begin. Thirty to 35 people will be working round-the-clock for seven to 10 days to build the seven-story ice palace, according to Jeff Carlson, owner of Park Construction, which is doing the work.

Salt melt is used between the blocks to “cement” the ice squares together.

Ice Palace Committee Chair Dan Stoltz said that fundraising efforts for the palace are going well. Blocks of ice can be purchased starting at $25 at wintercarnival.com. More than $50,000 has been raised so far, Stoltz said, with donations coming from Washington state, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, California and around the Midwest, as well as Minnesota.

Price tag for the ice palace is $800,000, but more than 75 percent of the funds had been raised through private and corporate donations at the time the plan was unveiled. Earlier plans for a massive, showcase ice palace had to be scrapped because the millions of dollars needed could not be raised.

This ice palace will be completed before the 2018 St. Paul Winter Carnival begins Jan. 25. The carnival runs through Feb 10, extended to connect to festivities for Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.

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